If you're in the beginning stages of giving your outdoor living space a major makeover, you undoubtedly want your garden area to serve as a serene respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life — and one of the best ways to accomplish this is to incorporate elements of therapeutic garden design that promote relaxation, engage the senses, and foster a deep connection with nature. Here's what you need to know about creating an outdoor space that promotes mental, emotional, and physical well-being:
The Science Behind Therapeutic Gardens
The concept of therapeutic gardens is rooted in the field of environmental psychology, which studies the relationship between humans and their surroundings. Research has shown that exposure to nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while also improving concentration, memory, and mood. When you create a therapeutic garden, you're not just designing an aesthetically pleasing space; you're crafting an environment that nurtures the human spirit.
Incorporate Soothing Elements
To design a therapeutic garden, start by incorporating elements that evoke a sense of peace and relaxation. Water features like fountains, ponds, or small streams can create soothing sounds that mask unwanted noise. Consider using natural materials like wood, stone, or gravel for pathways and seating areas to help ground the space and connect it to the natural world.
Engage the Senses
If you're in the beginning stages of giving your outdoor living space a major makeover, you undoubtedly want to create a garden
A well-designed therapeutic garden engages all the senses. Plant a variety of fragrant flowers, herbs, and shrubs to create an olfactory symphony. Choose visually appealing plants with different colors, textures, and shapes to stimulate the eyes. Incorporate plants with interesting textures, like lamb's ear or ornamental grasses, to encourage touch. And don't forget about taste; include edible plants like berries, herbs, or fruit trees to delight the palate.
Encourage Movement and Exploration
Design your garden in a way that encourages movement and exploration. Winding pathways, hidden nooks, and strategically placed focal points can create a sense of discovery and wonder. Include benches or seating areas throughout the space, inviting visitors to pause, reflect, and connect with their surroundings.
Ensure Accessibility and Inclusivity
A truly therapeutic garden is accessible and inclusive, welcoming individuals of all abilities and needs. Make sure pathways are wide and stable, with gentle slopes to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Choose plants that are non-toxic and hypoallergenic, and provide areas of shade and shelter for those with sensitivities to sun or weather. Your local landscape design service can provide you with more information on creating the outdoor living space of your dreams.