Q. How can I make the most of my garden as a wellbeing space?

Create a private haven where you can escape and recharge your batteries, says Louisa Gilhooly

Wellbeing garden design

by Liz Potter |

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined. With travel restrictions and social-distancing imposed, our gardens have become crucial places for us to enjoy some fresh air, relaxation – and distraction. In this design I’ve brought to-gether a number of ideas that will help you connect with nature and reduce stress levels during lockdown.

Many of us have been using our gardens as outdoor rooms for some time. Not being able to meet friends and family indoors has made this socialising space even more important. Sales of patio heaters, BBQs, fire pits and pizza ovens have soared – these items help us create a comfortable space to meet and eat outside. A fire pit and outdoor lighting have been incorporated into this design to help extend the time you can use the garden.

Concern over food supplies has made growing your own fruit and vegetables increasingly popular. Salads and herbs can be grown in raised beds and containers in even the smallest space; here rectangular beds keep crops neat and easy to harvest. These beds can be built from metal, or wood painted to fit in with the colour scheme and other materials used in the design.

With many of us working from home or home-schooling, it’s easy to feel like we’re getting on top of each other, so I’ve included different spaces within the garden, with quiet places to relax or study alone.

Fresh air and exercise are crucial for our mental health, and gardening provides both. In our gardens we can set up a table tennis table or mini trampoline, or practise yoga. Here, I’ve allocated space on the lawn for an exercise mat – dumbells optional!

At time of writing, we don’t know when we’ll be able to travel abroad for holidays yet, but hardy exotic planting can help transport us to far-flung places. Choose large-leaved plants such as fatsia and tender tree ferns that conjure up a lush, tropical feel or remind you of a favourite overseas destination.

1. Grow your own: Raised planters (made from sleepers) make vegetable gardening much easier and help to keep the space neat.

2. Use plants for privacy: Planting is soft and colourful but also helps to divide up the space, creating private areas to read or exercise.

3. Create an exercise zone: Lawn is a forgiving surface for yoga stretches and weight training. You might also like to include a small trampoline, recessed into the ground.

4. Mix the paving: A deliberate contrast of hard landscaping materials helps to zone each area and give a feeling of space.

5. Create a holiday feel: A separate outdoor dining space is surrounded by tropical plants and bright flowers to evoke far-away destinations.

6. Make a cosy seating area: This bench area surrounds a fire pit, with phyllostachys (bamboo) screening and festoon lights overhead for a cosy feel.

Follow the planting plan below:

Planting plan and shopping ideas
Planting plan and shopping ideas
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