There are over ten million back gardens in Britain, many of which are abandoned and left as storage for the shovel and the bins. Given some TLC, however, a back garden can serve as a personal sanctuary for reading a book on a relaxing summer afternoon or a social space for hosting a fantastic barbecue. Here are four tips to help you create your perfect back garden.
Before you can begin creating your perfect back garden, it may need a bit of a clean up. Getting rid of old items you no longer need is a therapeutic way to make your back garden more spacious and less messy, and leaves you with lower levels of cortisol, the natural hormone our body releases as a response to stress.
If de-cluttering is too Herculean a task, you can maximise your space with better organisation. Organise your clutter more efficiently in order to free up space. Once you begin landscaping, splitting the garden into sections can be a useful organisational tool. You can create a separate dining area, a flowerbed, and a special place for your produce.
Create an outdoor dining room
The dinner table is often where families congregate, and simply moving one outside helps bring everyone into the open air. Serving dinner in the fresh air on a warm summer night provides an alternative to a year-round indoor dining room. If you’re worried about mosquitoes, citronella candles are a natural deterrent that provide added ambience. You can also plant rosemary and marigolds to ward them off: they don’t like the smell.
If your garden is particularly sunny, a parasol protects your Pimm’s from overheating during that Sunday barbecue you’ve finally got round to hosting. Meat from a grill has a special flavour hard to reproduce on a regular hob, and the smoke won’t get into the house. You can use the barbecue beyond burgers: grilled pineapples and bananas make a tasty and healthy dessert. Luckily, there’s no need to worry about wasps—the smoke keeps them away.
Grow your own plants
You can even impress your barbecue guests with some homegrown produce. Following the organic trend, growing food in the back garden is becoming more and more popular. Herbs like mint, parsley, and thyme are relatively self-sufficient and add a pleasant smell; basil, mint, sage and coriander are also popular choices. Fruits like blueberries and strawberries and vegetables like peppers and cucumbers add colour and character.
Flowers are also an important part of any garden. In Japan, the art of flower arrangement is known as ikebana—but you don’t have to be a Zen monk to create an attractive flowerbed. Some flowers, notably petunias and peonies, require minimal care. Gardening not only provides the pretty flowers: it has been shown to reduce stress and burn calories.
Sit back and relax
Whatever you choose for your back garden, the most important thing is enjoying the space. Gardens are a way to reconnect with nature away from pressure and stress, and your garden should be your refuge, not your to-do list.