Transform your garden into a space for relaxation with these tips on sensory planting and wildlife-friendly garden features.
Make your garden a haven where you can enjoy other hobbies, too – such as yoga, flower-drying to make herb pillows, painting whatever is in bloom, or picking herbs for use in cooking or as herbal teas at bedtime.
The colours in your garden can enhance your mood. Blues and purples are likely to have a calming effect, while shades of green soothe and re-balance. And if you’re looking for an energy boost, add a pop of orange: it’s believed to be the colour of creativity and optimism.
Introduce some water
Water of any kind will make your garden a more relaxing place – this could be the soothing sounds of a bubbling water feature, or the addition of a bird bath or a wildlife pond.
Grow tasty edibles
Salad veg, soft fruit, cooking herbs and edible flowers are all easy to grow, even in a small space. Colourful edibles like sweet peppers, tomatoes and strawberries are rich in potassium and vitamin C, and are especially nutritious when eaten freshly picked.
Attract pollinating insects
When planting a new pot or border, prioritise insect-friendly planting where you can. Many popular garden plants are also favourites of bees and butterflies, including buddleia, lavender, salvia and nepeta. Pop these summer-flowering plants in a sheltered sunny spot, and enjoy a queue of winged visitors.
Protect local wildlife
Listening to birdsong and the sound of bees humming can be incredibly restful. Encourage them to share the space with you by providing them with food and shelter – for example, by feeding the birds and installing bee hotels, bug piles and hedgehog shelters.
Grow a plant sanctuary
Plants that stimulate our senses can help us relax. Rosemary, eucalyptus and bay all have aromatic leaves that release scent when touched.
Scent as therapy
The smell of rose and lavender can help to boost your memory power, reduce anxiety and improve your sleep quality.
Gently swaying plants, like grasses and bamboos, create sound and movement that helps both body and mind to unwind.
Plants with repeated patterns – like echeverias and ferns – can help us to switch off because, say RHS experts, these ‘fractal’ shapes are easy for our brains to process.