We all need a special place to escape from reality from time to time. Some people find going to the movies, taking a long-awaited vacation, or a walk in the park, the perfect outlet to unwind and get away. Although these activities are all great solutions, there’s nothing like having a refuge in your own backyard.
I recently came across the perfect phrase in an advertisement from Sun Mountain Lodge, “The key to happiness is feeding your soul a regular dose of nature.” This phase is what sanctuary gardens are all about! A sanctuary garden helps to focus in on your surroundings and relaxes your mind to find a more meaningful awareness.
Are you ready to get started? To create your sanctuary garden, here are my top six essentials:
1. Identify Your Desire
Identify why you have the desire to create a Sanctuary Garden. Now is the fun part, get out your markers and flip chart, and write your thoughts on paper. If you are a list maker, you’ll need to step out of your comfort zone and randomly jot down ideas in no particular order. Mind-mapping is my favorite way of getting thoughts on paper.
2. Find Your Space
We are drawn to gardens because it creates a sense of connection to the ground beneath us and mother earth. To find your sanctuary garden space, stand and pause in several different locations. The selected space should be where you feel most comfortable and a sense of belonging. This is a bit hard to explain, but you’ll know when you’ve found the perfect spot!
3. Create an Entrance
By creating an entrance to your sanctuary space, you create an invisible portal to leave your busy life and responsibilities behind. An entrance may be created by a stack of stones, a garden entry sign (with your garden’s name), an overhead arbor, crushed stone path, or fragrant plant to name a few.
4. Provide a Place to Sit
As a child, I loved to create secret outdoor rooms in the woods by my house. I would use fir branches as brooms to delineate the floor areas and sit for hours on the tree limbs above.
Although you may not have a tall tree, or the desire to climb one, a chair, bench, or stump will do! By providing a place to sit, it reminds you to sit and relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.
5. Add Water
It is incredible to me how quickly the sound of running water creates calmness and clarity. Water is one of the most important essentials for Sanctuary gardens. However, it is not necessary to build a pond or waterfall or fancy fountain. Hand watering plants can create the same effect. Another idea is to place a dish rock in your garden to collect rainwater, or snuggle in a tabletop water fountain near your sitting area.
6. Choose a Color Palette
Choose colors that make you feel fabulous rather than what you think will look good. Are you more comfortable with purples and greens, or hints of blues? One easy test is to bring home several paint chip samples from the hardware store like Home Depot. Spread the samples out over a table and see what type of joy or feelings they provoke. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
To learn more about colors for outdoor spaces, see Setting the Mood.
About BauerCombs Landscape Architects
BauerCombs is an award-winning landscape architecture firm that specializes in designing sensory gardens in the greater Seattle, Bellevue, Eastside areas, and across the United States. With our signature sensory design methods, we create captivating landscapes that bring life to outdoor spaces through the artistic balance of color and patterns, scent, touch, taste, and sound.
Our work has been published in several magazines and continues to grow in reputation for creating healthy outdoor environments for people and communities. To learn more about BauerCombs and our design tips, we invite you to download our free ebook.
Author: Susan Combs Bauer, Landscape Architect, Copyright © 2019 BauerCombs & Associates, Inc. www.bauercombs.com (425) 496-7772
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Susan Combs Bauer, Landscape Architect www.bauercombs.com