In our last article, we started to look at the varying elements of the Relaxation Garden. Our first love will always be plants. Plants are of course a huge part of any garden and especially so for relaxation gardens. So we will now take a closer look at our favourite plants and what it is about these plants that makes them suitable for a relaxation garden. We'll also tell you where they will thrive best.
Plants are of course a huge part of any garden and especially so for relaxation gardens. So we will now take a closer look
Green is Queen
Did you know that green is the only colour that our eye muscles can see without contracting or expanding? This is thought to be part of the reason why we associate it with a feeling of calm and tranquility. And green should always be the prominent colour in a relaxation garden.
This means a focus on evergreens and some of our favourite low growing shrubs for form and texture include Pinus mugo 'Mops' (shown in the image), Taxus baccata ('yew') and Viburnmum davidii. The first two will thrive well in a lighter soil whilst Viburnum is a perfect choice for a heavier soil such as clay. Both Taxus and Viburnum will tolerate shade too.
In terms of under planting, ensure you look to include evergreen presence here too. A selection of plants as follows:
Cornus canadensis ('Creeping Dogwood') - happiest in moist but well drained soil and will tolerate sun and shade
Pachysandra terminalis('Japanese spurge') - will tolerate moist and light soil; happier in soil which retains moisture but much more likely to spread.
Hellebore - will tolerate some sun but typically found in shadier spots. Beautiful flowers in late winter and architectural leaves throughout the year.
Did you know that green is the only colour that our eye muscles can see without contracting or expanding? This is thought to be part of the reason why we associate it with a feeling of calm and tranquility.
Combine planting with hard landscaping
In our last article here, we touched on the importance of softening hard landscaping such as paving with planting. In the image shown is the Eco-City Garden at The Chelsea Flower Show in 2018.
It shows Soleirolia soleirolii beautifully incorporated in between plank paving and pebbles. The inclusion of this wonderful plant (also known as 'Mind-your-own-business') completely transforms what would otherwise be a harsher area of hard landscaping.
Create Interest through height
A classic design trick is to ensure your relaxation garden includes vertical interest. This could be through small trees or even a climber up a pergola.
In the image shown, a mature archway of Taxus baccata surrounds the steps leading to the next section of the garden. The presence of the archway not only frames the view but makes this section of garden feel more intimate.
Bamboo is also shown to the right hand side. Visually, this can be a great additional to a planting scheme but it is a known spreader so we advise always to plant in pots.
Other tall flowering perennials also create a feeling of enclosure and intimacy. Note too how the style is informal which is key to any relaxation garden.
Scented plants for day and night
Plants emit their sweet perfume at different times of the day depending on which insects they are trying to attract.
The image of the Salvia (right) is a great example of how to encourage bees into your garden. We would recommend softer aromas such as Salvia, Lavender and other herbs so as not to over power. Lemon Verbena is one of my personal favourites. Although this is not hardy so will need winter protection. You may also prefer to site the plants well away from any seating areas.
We hope we have inspired you to think about how you can make your own garden a more relaxing space.
If you're looking for assistance then we create Relaxation Gardens in Woodbridge, Dedham, East Bergholt, Hadleigh, Long Melford, Lavenham, Bildeston, Waldringfield, Long Melford, Capel St. Mary, Nayland, Boxted and many others around Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.
Llevelo Garden Design. Award-winning garden design across Hertfordshire Essex and London
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Llevelo Garden Design. Award-winning garden design across Essex and Suffolk. The full range of planning and project management of traditional garden design to small urban gardens for Essex Suffolk Hertfordshire and London. Inspirational garden designer.