For most of us, the garden is the primary place where we connect with nature and reconnect with ourselves. Here’s where we unwind, drawn by the privacy of the space or a pretty view, either of a distant scenery or or of close-up plant beauties. Here’s where we want to be touched by nature’s power; our gardens are our oasis, where we recharge, remember how we played as children, and enjoy a living creation.
When looking for relaxing garden ideas, consider this: The space that we choose for our relaxation needs just to be big enough for a couple of chairs and perhaps a small table . Where we place it depends on environmental factors or our lifestyles: It could be in the backyard if it provides the privacy you need; if the front yard is the shadier place when you’re likely to be home, the front yard landscape design needs to provide for the relaxation spot here. It could also be in our side yard – if that is the only private space there is.
This front garden has a view, but nothing to mitigate the harsh sunlight, nothing to complement the forms of the house, nor does it invite to draw a chair to enjoy the view.
Placing the sitting area by the front door made most sense because it’s from here that the view is best. However, it’s the plants – ornamental grasses, graceful trees and a variety of colorful xeriscape plants – that make this garden come to life, and it’s here that you want to unwind.
The builder had placed both houses close together, and for the previous owner paving the entire space seemed right. Nothing mitigated the harsh glare from concrete and masonry; nothing was alive and made home-coming enticing.
Now this formerly dull entry passage is alive with lush yet xeric plants; it makes you say Ahh when coming home, to a place where moving foliage and varying textures and colors engage and relax the senses. Delicate shrubs decrease the glare from the white walls and soften the forms of the masonry, add visual interest and welcome anybody who enters this patio. Placing the raised containers at a 45 degree angle allowed to play with the spaces; as the hall-way feeling was broken up with plants and shapes, some sense of discovery and excitement was added.
Here, too, the front door area offers the place of choice to take a break and enjoy the late afternoon sun, the view and the occasional chat with neighbors who pass by. Under the cover of the pergola, surrounded by long-flowering Red Valerian Centranthus ruber and Feathery Senna Cassia artemisioides, both xeriscape plants, resting is very enjoyable.
A private sitting area was added to this back garden; what better spot than under the canopy of a tree to place a chair and sit with a book?
It seems that it is never the material underfoot that matters, nor the size of the spot that we choose. What does matter it our preferred location, some sense of shelter and privacy (placed against a wall, under a pergola or a tree canopy), and the plants that create the interest up-close. It’s the plants that relax us and make the space emotionally resonant, that give the garden a settled feeling, and make the formerly harsh or naked spaces inviting and friendly. Wouldn’t you agree?