Most of us are looking for ways to find relief from the stresses of our busy everyday lives. We crave time and space for relaxation and our homes and gardens should provide this sanctuary. Our gardens, regardless of their size can play a vital supporting role in providing a refuge from the pressures of the outside world.
Sitting in a garden brings you into contact with the healing power of nature. In your own garden you can indulge all your senses, choose plants that appeal to you for their colour or shape, their scent or texture or delight in the sounds of rustling leaves, swaying grasses or melodious birdsong.
When planning a garden design, the garden should be visualised throughout the year to exploit the diverse glories of each season. Spring brings an explosion of colour, through the greens of young foliage and a multitude of bulbs and shrubs in a dizzying array of colours. In summer there is another burst of colour until autumn, when we get the full explosion of fiery shades of rich reds, oranges and russets. The winter palette is generally more muted but the showy display of camellias in brilliant shades of reds and pinks through to soft yellows and stunning whites provides a counterpoint to the bleakest winter day.
Gardens should be stimulating environments, both mentally and physically, and can be designed to provide a rich sensory experience. Sight usually dominates our senses but if you close your eyes and wait for your other senses to be aroused you can gain a new understanding of the touch, smells and tastes that surround you.
Foliage can be sharp, smooth, bold, feathery, sticky or quilted. Flowers play their sensuous part in the garden, from the tiniest and dainty headed through to the big and bold, providing us with glorious sweet smelling carpets of colour or striking architectural specimens. Pleasing sounds in the garden can provide a refuge from the daily stress of the unwelcome noise of the cacophony of sounds in our city environments. The sound of rain, wind chimes and bubbling water, the hum of bees and the song of birds, the movement of the wind through trees and shrubs can be almost hypnotic, providing a calming influence and panacea to the day's stresses.
Whether your garden is large or small, a courtyard or a balcony you can create your own private sanctuary, filled with wonderful shapes, textures and scents to rouse your senses and provide an escape, if only momentarily from the outside world.