6 Ways a Backyard Garden Boosts Your Mental Health

Happy beautiful woman in white dress relaxing in hammock surrounded by a garden

6 Ways a Backyard Garden Boosts Your Mental Health

So many of us are now working from home. And for many of us, stress levels have never been higher. So, how can you make sure you find ways to cope and relax in the midst of all the noise?

A garden brings peace and tranquility to any outdoor space, whether you plant flowers and shrubs, or vegetables and plants, or a combination of all. Creating a serene backyard garden takes planning, attention to detail, and an understanding of what you want to accomplish. The right color combinations are essential, as are the flow, purpose and function of the garden.

Let’s go over how you can create a serene backyard garden to complement your home and landscape.

Keep it Simple

The success of your serene spot is just as much about what you leave out of it as what you put in. Clean gardens with no clutter make for the most relaxing spaces. And now new remote workers can use these gardens as a place to relax and detox.

Make sure the plantings around the patio and pathways are well contained and trim, and install relaxing features that give off a sense of security through plantings and fencing. Above all, keep everything simple if you want to create a truly serene environment. Remember: clutter equals chaos.

Some ways to clear out the clutter including pruning overgrown hedges and trees, relocating play equipment, and removing or recycling broken furniture and accessories. And if you plan on moving in the springtime you can do this along with your other spring cleaning.

The key is to start with a clean slate, assessing your yard for elements it requires to convert it into a place of refuge. An outdoor living space has a lot of potential, with the ability to provide sun, shade, fresh air and beautiful views. Transforming it into an oasis must start with as bare a palette as possible. Then, you can build from there.

Incorporate Water Features

No doubt about it, water features encourage relaxation. There’s nothing like sitting by your garden and hearing the trickle of water as it glides down the rocks and into a stream. Accessories like water features add a sense of peace. The clean lines of an elegant waterfall fountain attract visitors into the space, while soft lights can bathe the pools of water in mellow hues.

You may even want to add a square pond and fill it with lush aquatic plants, in direct contrast to the always-moving water of the fountain. While pond water does not flow, its stillness gives a tranquility that can be augmented with floating candles and garden lanterns.

In any case, water has a calming, restorative effect. Your options include:

  • Garden pond
  • Koi pond
  • Wading pool
  • Fountain
  • Birdbath

Embrace Natural Features

From hillsides to streams, use natural garden features to your advantage. For example, if your garden is built on a slope, work with that slope and install a small set of steps rather than trying to eliminate the grade altogether for a more cohesive look, suggests Country Living. Go one step further and add a winding gravel or stone path that meanders alongside your flower beds. Avoid rigid lines; instead, let the path wind to resemble the free-flowing nature of the flowers that bloom beside it.

Add Seating

What good is a serene garden if you can’t sit and enjoy the calmness? Consider a few small seating areas peppered around the garden, depending on how large the space is. A small patio table with a couple of chairs will suffice for having a snack and chatting, while a bench or even hammock provides a relaxing spot for solo contemplation.

For privacy, consider adding wooden fences and shrubbery to delineate your garden somewhat from the rest of the property. This will serve to define the space. Even tall stands comprised of bamboo planted throughout the landscape will add to the feeling of safety, relaxation and enclosure, says Fine Gardening. A pergola adds a ceiling enclosure of sorts that allows the sunlight and fresh air to permeate the space below, backed by a sense of open intimacy.

Add Pops of Color

Color stimulates our moods. Enliven your garden with small flowers of different hues and tones. You can plant perfectly structured rows or circles of bright color flowers that integrate all the moods and emotions of each color. Use yellow flowers for emotional strength, pink for tranquility, blue for serenity, and white flowers for purity and clarity of thought. Be sure to balance colors against one other in regards to spread, tone, and petal composition and correspondence.

One way to achieve a beautiful serene garden is to repeat a color provided by a variety of plants. Color themes are an effective design trick to add beauty and visual interest. Check out these combinations suggested by The Micro Gardener:

  • Yellow/Orange: Yellow capsicums, orange marigolds, calendula, cherry tomato varieties like yellow pear, nasturtiums, cosmos, orange chard, and yellow chillis.
  • Purple: Sages, purple basil, thyme, eggplant, rainbow chard, chive flowers, beetroot, rhubarb, rosemary; some lettuce varieties, alyssum (purple flowers), ajuga purpurea, lavender, violet, geranium and petunia.
  • White, Gray and Blue: These colors go with everything, i.e., blue/green leeks, sages with blue flowers, culinary sage, cauliflower, alyssum, and cabbage.

Create Shady Spots

Sitting in direct sunlight doesn’t always equal a serene experience. Who wants to be sweating and squinting when they’re trying to relax? Adding shady areas to your backyard garden is a must, and can come in the form of:

  • Umbrellas
  • Gazebos
  • Pergolas
  • Awnings
  • Vines growing on overhead roofs or arbors
  • Trees

Some features pull double duty as shade makers and privacy protectors. Arbors and overhead roofs, for example, add to the feeling of seclusion while providing necessary shade at the same time. You can further divide and seclude the area by adding carefully-placed screens, fences or walls of varying heights to give the backyard oasis a sense of mystery as one moves throughout the landscape, points out The Spruce.

Now that you have sufficient privacy and shade, you can add features that suit your unique interests: perhaps a patio where you can lay down a yoga mat and get in touch with nature, or maybe a spot tucked away for reading a good book. Whatever you choose, make it comfortable and make it yours.

In the end, remember that simple design principles are the key to creating a soothing sanctuary.