Design a Therapeutic Garden
For those who find a garden a break from everyday life, here's how to design your garden to have beneficial therapeutic effects.
While some like to sit on the sofa and binge-watch their favourite TV series, others prefer to stroll outside in the garden and take in the beauty of nature as a means of relaxation. If you prefer the latter, designing a therapeutic garden will introduce elements that can lead to a feeling of peace, elevated mood and even lower blood pressure.
Therapeutic landscapes have long been an important part of ancient people’s lives. The proof can be found in the Japanese Zen gardens, sacred groves and many wonderful landscaped gardens around the world, where people go to reap the benefits of these tranquil places. As far back as the early 1970s, there has been accumulated research done on the therapeutic effects that nature has on the body, mind and soul. These studies go on to explain how and why the existence of a therapeutic landscape can bring about healing effects in an individual. Some of the effects include a peaceful mood and easing of stress - just to name a few.
If you are wanting to design your own therapeutic landscape to be able to reap the many benefits, the following are some helpful tips you can use to get your garden started.
A Safe Place
Above anything else, the first step is to ensure a safe place to set up a therapeutic garden. You may need to remove trees that block out natural sunlight or that are deemed a hazard to surrounding structures. When looking to create a safe and therapeutic landscape, any tree that poses danger to people and property has to be removed first.
Choose the Perfect Plants
Garden designers and landscapers prefer the use of native or indigenous plants that have soothing colours, whether this be flower colour or foliage. Delicate ground covers, along with long grasses, serve as a good addition to the landscape, as these are the kinds of plants that create texture and motion. Subtle hues of blue, white, green, and lilacs are examples of plant colours that are known for producing a calming and soothing effect, but try to avoid plants with bold yellow or red colours, as these can have the opposite effect when added to a therapeutic landscape.
Over and above the colour of plants, fragrance also has a healing effect on an individual, which is why aromatherapists use essential plant oils for the effective treatment of different kinds of maladies. Plants that have soothing fragrance can do wonders in lifting mood and in stimulating positive memories. Consider plants such as lavender, rosemary, lilies, roses and gardenias.
Include Medicinal Plants and Herbs
Every therapeutic garden should incorporate a few plants known for their medicinal properties, as these also help boost the healing effect of the landscape. Some of the medicinal herbs to include are echinacea, aloe vera, and chamomile. There are plenty of plant varieties that offer medicinal value in the garden and you can ask at your local garden centre for plants that grow well in your region.
Create a Place for Meditation
Having a place to sit and meditate within your garden will require some careful thought. Ideally, you want a place that will provide a cool spot to sit during the summer months, but also an area that won't be chilly during the winter months. An area that has dappled sunshine under a deciduous tree would be the perfect spot. During the winter months, when the leaves have fallen, you will still have a cosy area that will be cool in summer when the leaf growth reappears.
Installing a small pergola or arbour or even converting a garden shed, will provide shade and privacy if you like to spend a lot of time in the garden. These types of structure will act as a buffer against distractions from neighbours, passing traffic, and any other noises.
These are just some of the many tips that you should keep in mind when creating a place in your lawn that has enduring mental, spiritual, and physical healing effects. If in any about as to the best way to proceed, ask for help from a professional landscaper or garden designer to ensure that everything in your landscape contributes to its therapeutic effect.