How to make your garden a sanctuary

If you want to make your garden a sanctuary, then the Lazy Susan has compiled our favourite design features to help you create a space that is sure to calm and relax...

The concept of our gardens as a sanctuary is one we touched on in our recent outdoor furniture trends for the summer 2023 article. I suppose you could argue that by its very nature a garden is a sanctuary but do we all set it up and use it in such a way that it helps us unwind?

One of the few positives to come out of the COVID pandemic was a greater appreciation of our outdoor spaces. We lead busy lives but the pandemic stopped many of us in our tracks and, well, gave us more time to stop and smell the roses. It saw us looking at ways we can maximise the use of our outdoor spaces, and it didn’t matter if our garden was a large country plot or a small urban balcony, we were seeking to use them for relaxation, dining and escape.

A sanctuary is defined as, among other uses of the word, a place of refuge and protection. And that is very much what they've become during the pandemic and beyond.

Our favourite solutions to transform your garden into a sanctuary

Our favourite solutions to transform your garden into a sanctuary

Many of us, especially those who are maybe not particularly green-thumbed, are often guilty of spending time and budget on the interior of our homes, but the garden can sometimes become an afterthought. In reality, it should really be seen as an extension of the home and the lines between the two are best when blurred.

The mistake many make when trying to create an outdoor space to relax is to fill it with ‘stuff’ but that can take away a lot of what makes it a calming space for relaxation and escape. A true sanctuary is a garden that makes you pause, breathe deeply and want to spend as much time in it as the great British weather will permit.

So if you want to know how to make your garden a sanctuary, then the Lazy Susan team has compiled our favourite design features or concepts for 2023 that will help you tick all the boxes and give you a space that not only looks great but is a joy to spend time in.

Add a garden building or structure 

Garden Sanctuary | Add a garden building or structure

The Lazy Susan team love our garden buildings, and the customer photos we receive for our Do Some Good campaign that features a pergola or summer room always look stunning. They just help to frame our furniture and when covered in climbing plants and flowers, you just know that is going to be the perfect spot to escape to and enjoy a relaxing drink or bite to eat on a warm summer's eve.

Keep the styling natural

Garden Sanctuary | Keep the styling natural

One way you can bring a touch of calm to your outdoor space is to not have to worry about it, and that lived-in cottage style is one of the big trends at the moment. Creating a space that looks beautiful with natural planting but needs minimal care isn’t for everybody but a natural-looking space that refuses to adhere to garden-style norms is guaranteed to feel like your own special place to spend time.

Think architecturally about your planting

Garden Sanctuary | Think architecturally about your planting

Just to show that the concept of the garden as a sanctuary is specific to the individual homeowners, this is almost the antithesis of the above but will deliver impact on those who love a more organised design style. And at the end of the day, that is what a sanctuary is all about, creating a space that fits with you and what you love. Architectural planting or structural planting is a great way to make a focal point (or multiple points) in your yard garden sanctuary. Larger architectural plants such as a large Yucca or Bamboo, for example, can create a structural presence, they can be positioned to work with the wider garden layout to make an impact or simply add shade. Clean and uncluttered will always deliver that all-important "zen".

Layer your planting scheme

Garden Sanctuary | Layer your planting scheme

Layering planting is another great way to give your garden a sanctuary-like feel and enclose the space at the same time. Plant smaller plants in the foreground, fillers in the middle and taller plants for screening at the back. It gives your borders a sense of depth and is great for making a smaller space feel bigger.

Create space for garden dining

Garden Sanctuary | Create space for garden dining

OK, you could say we are a little biased with this one, however, if you truly want your garden to be a place you can escape from the stress and strain of daily life, then a garden table and chairs are the perfect solution. What is better after a hard day than sitting in your garden sanctuary and sharing some food or drinks with friends and family on a summer's day? Add different types of seating, zone your patio for relaxation and dining, position in sun, shade, under a shelter, or whatever will help you make the most of your garden.

Make the patio feel private 

Garden Sanctuary | Make the patio feel private

When your garden is surrounded on all 3 sides by overlooking buildings like mine, then good privacy is key to creating a sanctuary-like feel. If you want to relax, then you don’t want it to feel like you’re being watched by your neighbours. There are a number of ways you can create privacy, from tall planting and trees to pergolas and screens. The key, whichever solution you opt for, is to make it feel secluded but not at the expense of letting the light in.

Blur the lines between the interior and garden

Garden Sanctuary | Blur the lines between the interior and garden

Bringing the outside and inside and the inside outside is not only a great way to create sanctuary but it brings the garden and interior together. Garden furniture and accessories can continue the indoor theme while planting inside can create a seamless transition. Create a multifunctional space that opens up to feel like one. Think about the view from inside of your home too, as this is what will draw you out and make you want to use it.

Work with a cool and calm colour scheme

Garden Sanctuary | Work with a cool and calm colour scheme

One of our favourite ways to make a space feel like a sanctuary, inside or out is to keep the colour palette cool and calm. In the garden, that doesn’t mean a total lack of colour though. Keep your garden furniture and hardscaping natural, muted and uncluttered, but add a few pops of colour with your planting or outdoor fabrics. Bright pinks, purples, blues and reds are our tips for on-trend flowers in 2023. However, the key colour in a garden sanctuary is always green. The more the better to keep it natural and keep it relaxing.

Create a sense of enclosure with raised beds and planters

Garden Sanctuary | Create a sense of enclosure with raised beds and planters

Raised beds not only look great but they’re perfect for those with limited mobility. They also help to make the space feel cosy and enclosed. Pair with a sunken patio area with laid-back seating and a fire pit for the ultimate in private escape. Raised beds will also help to keep the space greener for longer as they are more productive. Soil is less compacted, stays warmer, and has better drainage, so it will extend your growing season.

Add a calming water feature

Garden Sanctuary | Add a calming water feature

There’s something spa-like about adding water to your garden, and that’s exactly what you want from any outdoor sanctuary. From the soothing sound of running water to the reflections on the surface of a pond, a water feature is perfect for creating a zen-like sanctuary. If you’re in a city or near a busy road, then it is a great way to mask the background hum with something natural. Even in a small garden, there are some great water features that are more art than a pond.

Don't forget outdoor lighting for when the sun goes down

Garden Sanctuary | Don't forget outdoor lighting for when the sun goes down

Many people just think of outdoor lighting for security, and whilst that’s important, it can and should also be used to extend the time you can spend in your garden and create a relaxing atmosphere. Uplighting under architectural planting is one of the best ways to achieve this. It creates the perfect ambience and makes your garden just as inviting when the sun goes down as when it's shining. Pair with a fire pit or soft outdoor blankets to keep you and your guests warm and relaxed.

If you’ve got any photos of your Lazy Susan garden furniture in your garden sanctuary, then we’d love to see a few snaps for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].

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