Gauzy curtains frame the view of this courtyard garden by Peachy Green Garden Architects outside a home in Melbourne, Australia. Although the outdoor space is a modest size, it makes a big impact in the experience of the living space. The bamboo’s lush green leaves and repetitive vertical trunks combine with simple furnishings to evoke a feeling of calm.
Design idea: Limit your plant palette. Planting 10 of a single type of plant in a space rather than 10 different plants creates a more powerful, less cluttered result.
If you feel most at peace in natural settings, imagine taking a stroll through this New England woodland garden designed by Deborah Cerbone. Soft planting blocks of hosta, ferns and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa sp.) form drifts on either side of a stone path, which winds its way through a mature woodland.
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A pair of Adirondack chairs with plump cushions provide a lovely spot to pause with a cup of morning coffee and admire the view of the cottage-style garden by Garden Nest Residential Landscape. The beds include a mix of Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), ferns, coral bells (Heuchera sp.) and lavender (Lavandula sp.) in a blue-purple color palette. A single recirculating fountain set among the foliage acts as a focal point and brings a peaceful sound to the garden.
Design idea: Add calming sounds. Whether it’s the trickle of water from a fountain or the soft gong of a wind chime, introduced sounds can help set a serene scene.
Set against a curving stone wall below a tumble of pink hydrangea, this bench in a New Jersey backyard invites you to take a quiet moment of your own. Notice how the designers at Cording Landscape Design placed the larger boulders in the mixed stone wall to form a sort of natural backrest?
Set within a shaded woodland garden carpeted in ferns, this screened-in garden house belongs to Massachusetts-based landscape designer Hilarie Holdsworth. Designed as a spot for reading and relaxing, the garden house brings all of the comforts of being inside — soft cushions and blankets, screened sides to keep out bugs and a lamp overhead — to the serene setting of the garden.
A feast for the senses, this gravel garden seeded with California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and other wildflowers comes alive with color — and likely a buzz of happy pollinators flitting from flower to flower. You can welcome bees and butterflies to your garden, no matter its size, with pollinator-friendly plantings such as native wildflowers and other nectar- and pollen-rich blooms.
6 Steps to Creating Your Butterfly Garden
A zinc table topped with a pot of succulents stands out like an elegant statue against a backdrop of olive trees, juniper and silvery coast rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) in this Los Angeles garden by Studio William Hefner. Where other areas of the backyard may have more color and activity, this planting vignette provides a peaceful place of visual rest.
If minimalist spaces and orderly lines put your mind at ease, you may find a sense of peacefulness in this elegant patio in Washington, D.C., designed by GardenWise. The designers created the floor with cut stone pavers set in lines, interspersed half with granite cobbles and half with tufts of dark green mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus). It forms an interesting but restful pattern that draws one’s eye through the space.
Design idea: Repeat forms. Bring a sense of visual calm by using the same forms in repetition, such as a row of three weeping conifers in matching pots on a patio.
9. Inspired by Japan
Japanese gardens are known for the peace and tranquility they bring. This Zen garden by LandCrafters in Milwaukee draws influence from Japanese garden design with a tea house and raked gravel garden, traditionally used as a meditation garden. The restrained plantings and use of negative space help set the mind at ease.
Tell us: How are you finding a sense of calm these days? Show us scenes from your window or of your garden in the Comments.
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