calm garden space at Rydal Hall, Ambleside

How To Create A Serene Space In The Garden

Escape to your own calming haven of peace and tranquility

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a few hours in a serene space. Relax on comfortable furniture in a quiet, aromatic area of the garden. A bit of clever planting will cut down on the noise; carefully chosen herbs have calming properties and a subdued palette help you unwind after a stressful day. You don’t even need a garden; everything can be grown in pots in a back yard.

Recent research has shown that being surrounded by electronic gadgets reduces the amount of oxygen we breathe, by releasing electromagnetic fields. This reduction in oxygen can lead to allergies and respiratory problems. Plants produce oxygen so are an ideal antidote to the stress of modern working life. Houseplants also help maintain a healthy environment (see blog on Healthy Houseplants).

Noise reducing plants need to be dense so an evergreen hedge would be ideal; but not everyone has the space for a thick hedge so dense growing climbers over a pergola or covering a fence would help cut down on noise. If money is no object plant a Verti-garden; a wall of lush ferns, or a practical wall of salad crops and herbs. A dense border with tall, large leaved plants is another way of creating your sanctuary. Plant some shade loving, smaller plants underneath the larger ones to create a wall of vegetation from ground level. Gentle noise from the breeze whispering through bamboo also distracts from outside noise. The noise from trickling water is soothing and can help alleviate stress. The water feature need not be on a large scale, a small self-contained bubble pool will soothe.

Keep the colour palette subdued with lots of calming greens. Mainly green with just a few spots of a single pastel colour works very well; or keep to a small tonal range of whites, creams, pinks and lilacs. Don’t go in for vibrant, zingy hot colours as they are energising not calming.

Thalictrum, Miscanthus and Astrantia

Keep the lines softened and sinuous with any hard landscaping covered by plants. Plant evergreen climbers up the legs of a pergola, or plant a foliage climber intertwined with a flowering one. Soften the edges of a stone path with low growing plants, such as Thyme, which not only spreads outwards over the edges but also smells delicious as you walk past. A grass path would be preferable to hard stone, to keep to a lush, green theme; the only problems being that they need mowing and can be slippery when wet.

Scented herbs, such as Lavender, Chamomile and Lemon Balm are easy to grow, calming to the senses and come in handy in the kitchen. Make a relaxing tea with a few leaves of Lemon Balm; place in a cup of boiling water, leave to steep for 5 minutes then add lemon and honey. Plant scented plants such as: roses, night-scented stocks, mock orange,alyssum; the list is endless.

Lavender angustifolia

Once you’ve created your green sanctuary tuck a comfortable seat into this secluded corner. There is lots of choice for putting your feet up in our furniture department, which have weather-proof cushions; or opt for the gentle swaying of a hammock, the disadvantage of a hammock is the difficulty of keeping the Pimms in the glass!

Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas