Our gardens are many things – a source of food with fresh vegetables, a place to harvest tasty seasonings from fresh herbs, a beautiful tableau with stunning flowerbeds, a nurturing habitat with shelter for birds, bees, and other wildlife, and so much more. With all these things come a lot of work, the planning, dirt, and sweat necessary for the garden to thrive. All that work is worthwhile for a productive garden, but you can go beyond just simple productivity when you add one more thing to your garden – a calming corner.
What Is a Calming Corner?
A calming corner is a deliberate space you set aside in your garden to nurture more than plants. It is a place for joy, relaxation, and refreshment to nurture your mental well-being, in whatever way you enjoy the most. Unlike the obligations of the rest of your garden, your calming corner is just for your enjoyment and any work you put into creating and maintaining it is a labor of love rather than a necessary chore.
Designing Your Calming Corner
Everyone’s calming corner will be different, and yours should be unique to you, including what you enjoy and what you find most peaceful in the garden. It is an opportunity for you to express the creativity of your green thumb and your growing soul, to bring to your garden the exact things that help you enjoy gardening. When planning your special garden retreat, consider…
- Location – Ideally, choose a comfortable, easily accessible place for your calming corner. It should be out of view of any unpleasant or distracting sights, such as trash cans, compost piles, busy streets, or other distractions that could make it less enjoyable. Similarly, choose a quieter corner if possible so unwanted sounds don’t intrude on your calm space.
- Sounds – Just as you may want to choose a quiet space for your calming corner, it can also be helpful to incorporate pleasing sounds into your design, especially if there is nearby traffic, machinery, or other noise that may need to be covered. A wind chime or burbling fountain can add soothing tones to your calming corner, giving you happy sounds to hear whenever you visit.
- Shade – Consider your comfort when planning your calming corner. If you want a sunny oasis, be sure there are no overhanging plants or trees to interrupt your rays. If you prefer a shady retreat, consider adding a sheltering arbor or other option for cooling shade to keep this corner of your garden more comfortable.
- Plants – While you may normally choose garden plants based on their practicality – proper zone, best productivity, etc. – your calming corner is your opportunity to choose plants with just one purpose – to make you happy. Opt for plants you’re excited about, or plants you’ve always wanted to try so they will make you smile every time you see them.
- Colors – You can use color in many ways to create a calming atmosphere in this part of your garden. You might choose cool, restful blue or pale blooms, or opt for a variety of green shades for a rich tapestry of natural tones. But don’t limit yourself – if rainbow hues make you smile, plant a rainbow to enjoy, or choose your favorite color to accent your own special corner.
- Textures – To really immerse yourself in your calming corner, consider adding plants with a variety of pleasing textures. This might be fuzzy foliage to feel with your fingertips or springy ground covers under your feet, or even just twisty branches, papery bark, or delicate ferns to create a canvas of visual texture that engages your eyes.
- Scents – Pleasing aromas can welcome you to this secluded space in your garden if you opt for plants that offer sweet scents. Different flowers and herbs let off a range of aromas, and the more senses you incorporate into your calming corner, the more inclusive the experience will be and the more enjoyment you’ll find whenever you visit this part of your garden.
- Rest – Adding a place to rest and enjoy your calming corner is essential to make the most of the space. If you practice yoga or pilates, you might want to have enough room to make these movements in the garden. A hammock for an afternoon nap, a bench for a simple rest, or a swing for soothing sways are all great options to give yourself a place to rest in this special spot.
- Visitors – You may prefer to be alone in this restful spot in your garden, but wildlife guests can still be welcome. If you do enjoy their company, add a bird bath or feeder, toad house, or butterfly waterer to the space to invite guests that can make you smile. You might even consider a bat house, bee hotel, nectar feeder, or other special treat for wildlife.
- Decorative Accents – Don’t be afraid to inject your personality into this part of your garden with your favorite decorative accents. A fun, welcoming flag, a whimsical gnome, stepping stones with handprints of children or grandchildren, or even a tiny fairy garden can all be part of this corner. So long as these accents make you smile, then they’re right where they belong.
Most important is that every aspect of your calming corner brings you joy in the garden. Even when you put in the necessary labor – pruning, weeding, shaping, transplanting, repotting, etc. – to keep your corner attractive, it should be relaxing to get your hands dirty to make this one spot your very own. Take the time to enjoy all parts of this corner, breathing deeply and relishing this delightful spot as your personal retreat, and every moment will be worthwhile.