Making Your Garden A Haven
At the end of a busy day, there is nothing nicer than coming home to a safe and comfortable space. The garden should form part of this haven and it is easy to achieve!
Meeting Your Needs
It is important for the garden to meet the needs of everyone who resides there, including elderly parents, staff, tenants and any pets. Each person has their own requirements, from wanting a place to sit outdoors and relax or entertain friends, an area for the dogs to play or the cat to snooze, a sunny area for the washing to dry and to grow some herbs and vegetables.
Make this a collaborative effort with those who share your home and plot out these different spaces outdoors. You can then add attractive paths, arches, gates, hedges and whatever else you need to link them.
Shade or Sun
Both sun and shade will help to make the garden comfortable. We most certainly need shade for outdoor entertaining in summer, but there is also nothing nicer than having a warm, sunny area in which to enjoy the garden in winter.
Include a few deciduous trees in your planting scheme as they lose their leaves in the cooler months, allowing the sun to filter through the branches. These leaves can be added to a compost heap, a leaf litter bin or put directly back onto the soil as a mulch.
Growing Your Own
Being completely self-sufficient at home requires dedication and hard work. Whether you have a busy lifestyle or perhaps a small garden, there is still every opportunity to grow at least some of your own food at home.
Fruit trees can be laid out in an orchard or included as part of the ornamental garden. Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach and kale will grow happily in amongst your flowering plants if you don’t have the space for a dedicated vegetable garden.
Herbs grow well in both the ground and in containers, so you can create a collection of potted culinary herbs close to your kitchen or the entertainment area.
The three ‘R’s’ – Rest, Relaxation & Rejuvenation
We all embrace the three ‘R’s differently. For some, relaxation means going for a cycle or a run; for others, it’s reading a book in a peaceful part of the garden.
The garden is the perfect place to engage in high energy and rejuvenating pursuits, from swimming, children playing games, dogs pursuing their activities, and for the avid gardener to be planting out an area, deadheading flowering annuals – or weeding! Weeding is great therapy. If you battle to quiet your mind, then weeding is the perfect activity to do just that. It’s a form of meditation.
Watering the garden is also relaxing. Remember though that a quick dash of water from a hand-held hosepipe is seldom beneficial to the garden. It may be great for the soul, but the water will not penetrate the root zone sufficiently.
Water Is A Key Element
Every garden needs the sight or sound of water. Some people enjoy the sound of running or trickling water and this sound, especially close to the home, provides a ‘white noise’ than dampens external noise like traffic effectively.
There are many other ways of incorporating water into the garden from a running stream to a quiet pond nestled in a corner of the garden. And, of course, swimming pools lend a certain charm, especially in hot climates where they are in regular use!
Wildlife In Your Garden
A Facebook group called "The Garden Game Ranger" was started during the COVID pandemic when we were all confined to our homes. People from around the world are on this group and the aim at that time was to showcase different wildlife that frequents your garden because no-one could visit an actual game reserve. This group is still popular and has succeeded in creating an awareness of just how many birds, bugs, and reptiles frequent our gardens, a sure indication that your garden is healthy.
When choosing plants for your garden, always be mindful of choosing those that will provide fruit, seed and nesting material for birds. They should be harvesting seed from grasses indigenous to your area and not store-bought seed; they also feed on fruit and insects and ground-feeding birds will love foraging through any leaf litter in the garden beds.
We need pollinators in our garden too, so choose plants that will attract bees, while butterflies require foliage on which to breed and a source of nectar from flowering plants to sustain the adults.
And then, most importantly, you will need that perfect seating area to watch the goings-on in your haven.