Driving along the pastoral avenues of rural Oxfordshire on a bright morning recently, my attention turned to a conversation Chris Evans was having with a breakfast show listener. The woman in question was explaining that she had ‘Marie Kondo-ed’ her garden and how this had transformed her state of mind from stressed to deeply satisfied.
Gardeners have long known that composing, shaping and digging gardens has a gentle yet deep way of calming a troubled or busy mind, and in recent years the psychological benefits of spending time communing with nature has been widely publicised. But what you may not know is that the quality of your green space plays a pivotal role.
Studies show that those living in more aesthetically pleasing environments report a better sense of wellbeing, whilst those whose daily habitats are unkempt and disordered report higher levels of negative thoughts and feelings. So, how can you bring some therapeutic elements to your landscape and turn your garden into your own natural mind-spa?
Is there a place in your garden where you go to be still, nap or contemplate with nature? Somewhere that fills you with lightness and tranquillity?
A raised deck or pergola crowned platform, thoughtfully placed, can provide a serene spot for meditation or yoga. Combine with scent from well-sourced planting, you could even recreate your favourite perfumer’s fragrance.
Rediscover childlike joy that comes with a garden swing in a living willow dome. Think hewn beams of handcrafted oak with marine rope – you could be floating through the air like Titania in her woodland bower.
What could be more rewarding and satisfying than growing your own food in soil that you know has been well-nurtured? We see plenty of research on how much more nutritious home-grown food is, but more so, growing your own can feed mind and soul too. Even the numbed heart can find a spark of delight in watching seeds sprout into life, eventually providing a feast of goodness for the table.
Vegetable patches are brilliant in themselves, but elevating the aesthetics of the productive garden make growing fruit, herbs and vegetables a feast for the eyes too. Take pairs of raised sleeper beds and enclose them inside a subtly painted picket fence, add sweet pea and scarlet runner bean arches and your senses will be charmed all-year-round.
Wellness Through Water
There is something hypnotically restful about the sound of moving water in a garden. Gently bubbling ponds and contemporary rills bring a harmony of elements to the landscape. If you live lakeside or by a river why not harness the waterscape? Sensitively and cleverly chosen materials and textures can be used to create a true retreat from which to enjoy the soporific effects of water year-round. How about a covered jetty or boathouse style building from which to enjoy the water whilst keeping warm and dry?
Landlocked garden-lovers can bring the same feel by introducing a pond or natural swimming pool and floating an oversailing deck over the water’s edge. If you’re short of space, there’s still an abundance of ways to design with water. How about a simple cube of Travertine stone which trickles water into a pebble pool?
Enveloping yourself in nature’s green mantle is rewarding to our psychological wellbeing, so perhaps investing in creating a beautiful landscape in your outdoor living space for successive years to come could be one of the most uplifting, recompensing investments you could make.
Laura Jones from The Oxfordshire Gardener creates thoughtful landscapes in keeping with their settings; drawing on beautiful perspectives along with a healthy measure of horticultural wisdom. From formal to naturalistic planting, the narrative emerges from the client and the surrounding landscape.
To find out more about The Oxfordshire Gardener and discover their Landscaping, Garden Design and Garden Maitenance services, take a look at their OX Loves page on our website.
or visit their own website at theoxfordshiregardener.co.uk
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