What makes a garden special?

There is something very special about being outside.. To see the clouds… and the sky…feel the warmth of the sun… and to experience the wind on our faces… and enjoy the sights, smells and touch of a green and changing space. 

You’ve only got to witness how different a child’s behaviour is when they’ve been playing outside and appreciate how a breath of fresh air clears you own head to realise that all the research must be right.   Being outside in a pleasant green space really is good for our health and wellbeing.

Magazines and Newspapers seem to be telling us that we should make the garden feel like an extension of the house, but I have been thinking about that recently.  If we do make the garden feel like the house aren’t we somehow missing the point?  Do we really want our gardens to be extensions of our houses?  Shouldn’t we instead develop and celebrate the differences?

We will need to make sure our gardens are easily accessible and also make sure the garden is beautiful too, so that’s it’s a pleasure to be in.  But, I think it’s best to enjoy the difference and not to try and create another ‘inside feeling’ space in the garden.   After all, why would we want our garden to be like our house.. Do we seriously want to merge the two experiences?

So here are a few key ways to focus on the outside:

  • Make the transition into the garden a specific experience to be enjoyed and not an accidental occurrence.  Use a step or a change of material, perhaps plant a scented plant or have soft foliage to brush against or walk over.
  • Create a green tunnel effect, planting both sides of the route out can be very effective.
  • Create a focal point  (or several) in the garden and destinations that you will want to reach, this will help to draw you outside
  • Use places within your garden to create an escape from the house where you can retreat to.  Enjoy the view back to the house and feel ‘away from it all’.
  • Take a mini-break in your garden.  Perhaps with a book and a cold drink.  Lie there and enjoy the garden and watch the clouds go by.

Selina Botham an award winning garden designer based in Claygate. 

If you would like to improve and make the best of your garden and need some professional help contact Selina for an initial garden consultation on 07894 553 202 or email her at selina@designsforallseasons.co.uk

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