Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Relax and de-stress in your garden

What do you do after a hard day at work? Do you turn on the TV, watch something mindless and sink into the couch? You could do that, or retreat into your garden - after all it is essentially an outdoor room.

Many of us don't take proper advantage of our gardens. But when we do have a second to explore our gardens, it's very common for us to feel a greater sense of calm and serenity. Being out in garden has an almost therapeutic effect. When we are outdoors we have to opportunity to connect with nature. It is a complete sensory experience. We have a rich source of fresh air, an array of scents (from roses to mint to wet grass), brilliant colour and wonderful textures.

A leisurely stroll around the garden can do wonders when it comes to relaxation - but maybe not so much if your grass hasn't been cut in a number of weeks or if there's a risk you might trip over your latest half-finished garden project.

The good news is that there are some very simple things you can do to make your backyard a healing garden - meaning a space that takes advantage of it's wonderful natural surrounds and calms the body, mind and soul.

Here are some tips to make your garden a peaceful sanctuary.

- We mentioned earlier that being outdoors is a sensory experience, so use plants that appeal to this. This might mean planting gardenias for their beautiful scent or bougainvilleas for their dynamic colour. Be creative in your choices.

- Start a vegetable gardens or kitchen gardens. Gardening is know as one of the most relaxing pastimes. Studies has even found that those that active gardeners live the longest! As an added benefit, you'll also have fresh produce at your disposal.

-Have you ever listening to CD of ambient sounds from nature? You'll probably notice that a lot feature the sound of water, perhaps rain or the gentle flow of a creek. The sound of water is deeply relaxing so include it in your garden! Consider a water feature and enjoy the beauty as well as the soothing sound.

- Healing gardens are to slow you down. Use gentle winding pathways or walk ways that branch off into different areas. Use this as a way to explore different parts of the garden at your own leisure.

- Garden art is a great way to allow yourself and guest stop for a moment to ponder, and contemplate. You might consider subtler touches, such as smaller statues or a large abstract piece that will form the focal point of the garden. The choice is yours.

- Australia is home to some birds whether it be rosellas, galahs or cockatoos. Invite them into your garden with a bird bath or bird house. The happy chirping of birds adds to the sensory experience and you're also giving our feathered friend some relief during scorching summer days.

- Embrace all has to offer. Consider using different natural elements such as stone, wood and peebles and take advantage of the interesting textures.

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