Therapeutic changes to make in your garden
At this time of uncertainty, we could all do with something to lift our lockdown spirits, and with a few design changes your garden could provide the perfect release. It’s well documented how therapeutic gardens can help people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, as well as having positive effects for mental illness. Healing, sensory or restorative gardens as they are known, inspire wellbeing and good health, but what therapeutic changes can you make to your garden to help you and your family through the months to come?
Benefit of sunshine
No matter the size of your outdoor space, it’s a place where you can relax, put your worries and concerns aside, breathe in the fresh air and get back to nature. Due to our daily exercise allowance you may have been getting more of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin – vitamin D – than you may have done in your normal life. This essential vitamin helps most of us feel better as it aids our bodies by contributing to maintaining healthy bones, muscles and teeth. Spending more time in our sunny gardens also increases endorphins, improving our wellbeing, so imagine the increased benefits by making a few changes?
Joys for the senses
You may have considered the sensory experience of your garden without actually realising it, but any healing garden should engage your senses. Let’s start with your lawn. Walking barefoot on grass, some suggest, can aid digestion, reduce high blood pressure, and even regulate hormone levels – similar to walking on a beach or even hugging a tree.
Scent is one of our more perceptive senses, and fragrant plants such as jasmine and lavender can evoke memories and be a calming influence; rosemary is said to enhance memory, and fresh mint is stimulating. Fragrant plants are best positioned close to path edges or flower beds that you will always pass, thus giving you plenty of opportunities to allow their aromas to do their job.
A little corner
It’s important to create your own little corner where you can sit and enjoy your surroundings, whether that’s a little bench or even a bean bag. If you don’t have one, why not create one yourself, with some raised beds close by? Garden projects will provide you with a sense of achievement and are an ideal way to stimulate your creativity. Submerse yourself in nature by finding the right little corner to while away the hours with a good book.
50 shades of green
You don’t have to have a rainbow of colours, your garden can immediately be made to feel more tranquil by using different shades of green. Use a variety of textures and sizes, from green flowers, lawns, and foliage – the colour green is known for its relaxation qualities. A green dominated garden forces your eye to take in your surroundings more slowly, thus adding to its restorative effect.
The sound of waves gently crashing against the shore, the trickling of streams and rivers – the sound of water is tranquil and mesmerising and can add a feeling of serenity to your garden, helping the recovery from mental and physical fatigue. Often the simplest solutions can be the most effective; it should blend in naturally with your garden rather than overpower it.
See it bloom
Creating a therapeutic garden will not only benefit you but also nature, as you see local wildlife enjoy your garden as much as you. Your garden should be somewhere all your family can enjoy the space, and just as you have created your little corner, introduce elements for your children and other family members too. There is nothing more restorative and better to lift your spirits than hearing children’s laughter.
No matter the space you have, we can all add therapeutic changes to our gardens, whether that’s simply adding some fragrant planting to a window box, or designing and building your own little seating area. Let your garden heal and restore your mind and body, so you can tackle whatever the next few weeks has to bring.
We hope our articles are providing you with a wealth of ideas for getting through the lockdown. From everyone at Samuel Wood, stay safe.