There are a lot of emotions tied to my gardens, maybe because I have so many (too many?) of them. I have a large vegetable garden, a small orchard, half an herb garden and too many flower beds to mention. They represent a lot of hard work and in the end they offer up much more than a bouquet or salad.
Being surrounded by green, growing, living thing has to be good for your soul. Taking time to rest and relax and enjoy that peace should be an important part of your gardening routine.
There is a reason they tell you to stop and smell the roses. I’m waiting for my rugosa roses to flower so right now I’m happy smelling the bee balm.
In an effort to distance myself from the omnipresent technology I’ve been carefully carving out spaces on my property among the flowers, trees and vegetable to relax and enjoy my Sunday morning coffee or kids-are-with-dad evening cocktail.
Today I want to share a few ways I’ve creates a cozy and relaxing garden space that I hope you can use too. Even if you only have a small garden to call your own .
Take a Seat
I’ve been known to lay flat on my back on the grass after a particularly stressful day. A better option is to pull up a cozy chair or comfortable bench.
It’s easier to get off the ground and there’s a much lower change of getting goose poop in your hair.
Adirondack chairs are perfect for sitting back and relaxing in, I’m planning on getting a few to replace my old ones that spent many nights around the fire pit before finding their way into it..
You can find Adirondack chairs made from wood or plastic, stained or brightly colored. As much as I love natural wood, I’m going to go with plastic this time around.
Partly because I want a bright cheerful color and I don’t want to have to paint and also because I was a set of chairs I can easily carry from the herb garden where I can nibble on alpine strawberries to the front of the house to watch the sunset or fire works from the casino.
Another option is a garden bench. I have a giant monster of a bench that my Grandfather built me many years ago when I was still living at my moms.
It’s a great seat to sit back with a book, the lattice roof makes the sun bearable and one of the years I’ll get a vine to grow up over it without a chicken killing it.
This year I want to add a cut flower garden to the orchard with a nice metal garden bench. I want to spend more time out there, I send to ignore it when I’m not planting, pruning or mowing. It’s really a quiet, beautiful place.
I’m not sure how quiet it’s going to be once I move the geese out there permanently but.. it’s worth a try right?
Finally, if you have a larger place a picnic table or a small cafe table is a great spot for a fresh picked dinner. My daughters are obsessed with picnics and as much fun as a blanket on the ground is, it’s just easier to keep the
vultures chickens away when everything is a few feet off the ground.
Get a Hammock
I know I just told you all about different seating options for garden spaces but the truth is I don’t really need any of those. Because I have my hammock.
My favorite place on earth is laying in my hammock at night in the early summer when the air is filled with fireflies. For a few magical months every year I live in a fairy tale.
The hammock gets a lot of love all summer long, from me, my kids and just about anyone that happens to stop by. My kids love reading books before bed in the hammock, there’s plenty of light when the sun doesn’t set until 9!
The poplar trees provide a welcome bit of shade from the sun and add to the magical atmosphere with the soft whisper of leaves rustling. I’ve drifted off to sleep more than once watching the fireflies in the tree canopy and listening to the soft rain sound of the leaves.
My first hammock was a rope net style and I wasn’t a huge fan. It was too easy for the girls to get tangled and I couldn’t sit in the hammock with my dog.
Yes, I rock with my 113 pound golden retriever in the hammock.
My second hammock was a fabric two person hammock. It lasted two years, which I thought was pretty good based on the amount of collective weight it held and all the time in the sun.
I’ll be replacing it with a similar style, I think the wooden spreader bars make it easier to chill with more than one person. It’s also pretty handy for flipping fallen leaves and branches off after every single rain storm. Poplar trees just aren’t that hardy.
I might have to pick up one of those super light weight fabric hammocks that cradles you. For research purposes of course.
I would hang it away from the busy parts of the yard, hidden in the wooded lot on the side of me property. The area where no one ever goes…. I could be left alone for a whole 10 minutes, maybe 15 if the dog doesn’t give away my position!
Any who, if you have the space, get yourself a hammock and change your life. It’ll make your summers magical and give you something to look forward to all winter.
Garden enjoyment doesn’t need to end when the sun goes down. Occasionally I like to stay up past 10 by choice and I prefer to spend those nights in the garden covered with bug spray.
The easiest garden lighting is to set up a string of solar lights or a set of solar path lights. You get a more diffused and gentle glow from those options than you would get with a spot light.
My front garden bed is lined with those super cheap solar lights, they have them at Dollar General or you can get them on Amazon.
Solar lights are great because you set them up and then your job is done. They come on at night and go off when the battery dies.
Another garden light source that’s perfect for relaxation is fire. Anyone who has ever sat next to a camp fire, bonfire or even a tiki torch understands the mesmerizing allure of a dancing flame.
If you have the space for a fire pit and you don’t live in an area where it’s illegal you should build one. If not you can get a similar feel with oil lanterns. You can go with the rustic bamboo tiki style or get something a little fancier with a metal reservoir for the oil.
There are even pretty table top oil lamps you can fill with citronella oil to keep the awful mosquitoes at bay.
Of course you can also use candles. I like jar candles for the outdoors, they hold up better to the gentle breeze than never seems to die down around here.
If you can’t a poplar tree you still have a few options for relaxing garden sounds. Wind chimes are a great way to add to your relaxing atmosphere.
I like large wind chimes, especially when they have a deeper tone. You can hang them in trees, from shepherds crooks in the garden or from your chicken run. Sometimes we get really strong winds so I try to bring them in the house or stash them in the barn when we’re getting a bug storm.
If you don’t care for the sound of metal wind chimes check out a bamboo wind chime, they have a different tone. Personally I like both and I have them places in different areas.
Another great garden sound is a bubbling fountain or small waterfall. When I was growing up my dad always had koi ponds, they started out small and eventually he had a 6 foot deep custom pond filled with 3 foot long fish that he acquired when they out grew normal peoples ponds.
My dad had the too much gene, I think that’s were I got it.
I don’t have a pond, I don’t think it would do well with the geese and the ducks but I love the sound of a waterfall over rocks or a small fountain. Someday I’ll add a small recirculating fountain to the herb garden, it’s the only place I can easily run electricity, but for now I’m happy with my memories.
There is another water sound I do get to enjoy in the garden all summer long. We get a lot of light summer rains, the kind of rain where you don’t run into the house but just keep doing whatever you were doing before it started.
More than once I’ve dragged my kids outside to play in a summer sun shower. I don’t think many people know how to enjoy the rain anymore.
I love listening to a steady rain fall, my barn has a tin roof and while it can be extremely loud during a down pour I find a lot of comfort in listening to a soft pitter patter on the roof.
The last thing you need to create a relaxing and cozy garden space is something beautiful to look at. The obvious answer here is to have some beautiful plants.
I think the best plants for a relaxing space should be low maintenance, you don’t want to sit back with a hot cup of coffee only to see your petunias need dead heading or you roses are dying again.
Surround your happy place with easy to grow perennial flowers like purple cone flowers, day lilies or anything from my list of easy to grow flowering plants to steal from a friend.
Pick plants that you enjoy, flower that smell nice. I think viburnum is beautiful but I don’t think anyone wants to smell cat pee when they’re trying to relax right?
You can also add a few garden accents, like a bowling ball turned into a lady bug or a handful of DIY fairy houses. I’ve always loved the look of a mirrored gazing ball, they look really nice tucked into an overgrown plant.
Put your bench or hammock or Adirondack chair where you can watch the sunset or birds at a feeder or anything that calms you down.
Now that we know what to look, let’s talk about a few things to avoid when creating a garden sanctuary. There’s nothing worse than settling down for a few minutes to relax only to end up face to face with an overflowing garbage can or a local eyesore (like the casino tower you can see oh so clearly from the front of my house).
I hope I’ve given you a few ideas to create your own relaxing garden place. Follow me on Instagram if you want to keep up with my garden escapades, more fails than wins but I prefer realism over sugar coating 😉
Check out my Garden page for more ideas or start here: