Garden design secrets
Why is it that some gardens automatically create a sense of calm and tranquillity? Turns out there’s quite a science to it! Here are some surprising tips from architects, landscapers, designers and more experts to create a soothing getaway right outside your front door.
Place a wooden bench or chair under a tree
The simple task of putting a seat outside will inspire you to leave your couch and get some fresh air, says Beth Kaplin, PhD, program director for the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation at Antioch University. “Spending time in view of what’s called green space has been shown to reduce stress levels and anxiety.” Wood furniture in particular calms us, suggest a few provocative studies – especially when placed in an area with dappled lighting, like under a tree. According to a 2015 report from the Planet Ark Environmental Foundation, an Australian non-profit organisation, wood is not only aesthetically pleasing in its colour, grain and shape, but it also may illicit positive feelings of harmony and balance. The report cited some small studies that showed lowered blood pressure and heart rates in people who lived among wood interior spaces and wooden furniture.
Warm up your green thumb
Not only can a garden be rich in vivid colours, it can also quiet your mind. A famous theory called the biophilia hypothesis says humans have an innate need to connect with the natural environment. So your own little plot of paradise may be the therapy you need after an exhausting day in the office. Before you start planting, it’s best to have a plan. “Think about what purpose you have for your garden. Is it a learning garden for your kids? Is it a food garden? Is it a native habitat?” says Libby McCann, PhD, director of environmental education at Antioch University. Potted plants and herb gardens are a great gateway because they are low maintenance.