The wellbeing garden is more important than ever

These truly are worrying times, with the world gripped in the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are closed, social distancing is in place and we are on lockdown. For non key workers, the best thing we can do is support those around us, stay home and stay safe.

One area the Lazy Susan team and I thought we could offer a little advice is with regard to the concept of a wellbeing garden. Creating a space outside that is beneficial to both our mental and physical wellbeing.

We’d touched on this concept in our recent trend articles, and I’d planned to look at it in more detail before the Coronavirus lockdown, but now it seems more pertinent than ever.

If we are going to be staying at home for the foreseeable weeks, maybe even months ahead, then our gardens will be come even more important to our health and wellbeing than they’ve ever been before…

Wellbeing Garden
Our gardens can be a tremendous source of heath and wellbeing during the COVID-19 lockdown

Talking about selling garden furniture feels a little difficult in the current crisis but a comfortable place to sit is so important to creating a space that helps with our general wellbeing.

Setting up your outdoor space so that it is multifunctional, serving a number of different purposes from relaxation to play, is the starting point.

Try and think of you patio and the wider garden as an additional room. It of course needs to look good, however, it is essential you and the rest of your household can use it. Sit down and relax, set a table and eat outside when the weather permits, grow your own, space for the kids to play, encourage wildlife etc.

However, for me, it all starts with somewhere to sit…

Here at Lazy Susan, our online store is open as usual. For the time being you can place your orders as normal, we can still deliver as normal, and our couriers have implemented a no contact delivery policy.

The Lazy Susan warehouse is also fully operational, but again, observing safe practice and closely following the government guidelines for online retailers. We’re currently shipping all orders as normal. However, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our showroom in Chichester.

For a full and more detailed update on our response to COVID-19, then please visit our FAQ page.

If you are thinking of new garden furniture for the summer, then you can still shop with us in confidence that it will be safely delivered to your home. I suppose it will also give you something to look forward to, a little piece of normal, and you can get it all assembled and on your patio, creating a relaxing place to sit and enjoy a drink or a spot of al fresco dining.

Whilst on this lockdown, I for one am hoping we can get the BBQ out over Easter. It may just be the 4 of us, but we’ll still sit outside (weather permitting), enjoy some good food, with a few beers for the adults. But more so just the opportunity to sit outside would make a huge difference. So fingers crossed we see some milder weather, and soon.

OK, sales bit done. I didn’t just want this post to be all about garden furniture, integral though it is. The aim was more to offering some of our thoughts on how you can best make use of your outdoor space, regardless of size, in order to help with wellbeing during this period of lockdown and self-isolation.

Gardening is a great source of wellbeing

Tending to our gardens is the perfect way to get a little fresh air, and of course that all important daily exercise. Especially, if you’re in one of the vulnerable groups, and you are self-isolating as a precaution.

And I’m not talking about a day of back breaking toil, but even some light gardening will put you through a range of movements. You’re getting a full body workout, from simple tasks such as lifting and moving a bag of compost to a spot of pruning, a day in the garden requires you to get all parts of the body moving.

Take this as an opportunity to tackle those tasks you’ve been putting off. A tidy garden equals a tidy mind. With Spring now in bloom and the weather getting much milder, I know my garden is ready for some major post Winter TLC. And for those of us who enjoy gardening, this is a time of year we relish.

Gardening is a tremendous source of relaxation and enjoyment. Personally, I don’t see it as a chore at all, and nothing beats that feeling of sitting back and admiring what you’ve achieved after a full day of general tidying and TLC. That in itself is a great source of wellbeing, and I try and get the whole family involved.

This weekend just gone for example, I swept, jet washed and put fresh sand between my patio pavers. Fortunately, I’d already purchased a few bags of sand before the lockdown. It took a full morning but what a difference, the patio looks as good as new. And I got the kids sweeping the sand!

I plan to use this extra time at home to get my garden in tip top shape, and once things warm up a little more, that fence is getting a new coat of stain.

Use the garden for a little me time

Leave your mobile phone inside and take your time in the garden to enjoy a little peace and tranquility. A garden isn’t all about the hard graft.

Enjoy the fresh air, mother nature and the peace and quiet. Our gardens, no matter of the size, are always full of visual interest and stimulation: plants, wildlife, colour, texture, smells and sounds. They’re all there. Take a little time to take it all in.

I’m working for home, I’m lucky that I can do my job with a laptop and phone, but with some of the mild weather of late, I’ve been taking a mid morning break and sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee.

One of few positives to come from the Coronavirus lockdown is that I’m appreciating the simple things more. I don’t want to get all new age here but there’s no doubt that a little me time in the garden helps to reduce stress levels and wake me up a little bit. Some fresh air and sunshine is important.

Plant plants that will attract wildlife

Several member of the Lazy team, myself included, have recently been cutting, sharing and growing a number of flowers with the specific aim to attract more bees, butterflies and birds into our gardens. We were inspired by a book that came out last year by Kate Bradbury called Wildlife Gardening: For Everyone and Everything.

Our Alessia Bistro set in this beautiful garden designed to attract wildlife.
Our Alessia Bistro set in this beautiful wellbeing garden specifically designed to attract wildlife.

It’s a great read that offers tips on feeding local wildlife, and explains how to create the perfect habitats for species you’d like to welcome into your garden. From creating wildlife ponds, compost corners to wildflower meadows, there’s some really inspiring stuff.

Some of the best herbs for encouraging bees and butterflies are those from the Labiatae family, such as lavender, mint, rosemary and thyme for example. Also, placing some bird boxes and an insect house or two around the garden is a great way to get the kids interested. Such a simple things to do, but again, it’s a tremendous source of wellbeing to see your garden truly alive.

Grow your own

This is something I’ve done for a number of years now. I’m no expert, but I have a small patch for various herbs and vegetables that’s well established in my back garden, and is a great source of enjoyment and pride I may add. However, during the lockdown it has taken on new significance.

As a parent, I am now combining home working with home schooling. The kids had only ever really shown a passing interest, maybe helped me harvest or water, but not much more than that.

One of the tasks their school had set them was to observe nature in their own garden. So, they’re currently growing their own herbs, vegetables and chillis from seed (see below). And they’ll be ready to transfer to the main garden patch soon, all of which is being photographed daily and documented.

Growing your own is great for the wellbeing garden
Early days but my kids are growing their own herbs and veg during the lockdown. They are taking a photograph each day to document the process for school.

For both adults and children alike, there is nothing more exciting than nurturing your own herbs, veg and fruit. Even better is when you can share it at the table with the rest of the family. Trust me, it always tastes better than shop bought.

Add a water feature

Maybe set yourself a bigger challenge?

You can still safely order many water features from online retailers such as Amazon, Primrose or Wayfair for example. Something to really get your teeth into. For me, a good water feature is the must have focal point for a true wellbeing garden. And once installed, be it still or running, water never fails to create a sense of calm and tranquility.

Me personally, I’m a big fan of the water bowls. Surround them with some soft foliage and some large Scottish pebbles, perfect. The large and small Rainbow Babbling Bowl’s from Primrose (pictured below) are perfect for this look. The gentle rippling water is ideal for a wellbeing garden.

The wellbeing garden is more important than ever
The Rainbow Babbling Bowl Water Feature from Primrose is the perfect focal point for the Wellbeing Garden.

Add vertical interest

Another key component of the wellbeing garden, and good small garden design in general, is vertical interest. This is especially important in urban city style gardens. In a larger open plot you can plant trees and use larger structures such as a pergola to provide plenty of upward interest. However, in a small garden, it is vital you work the vertical to your advantage.

Views are often non existent in many backyard style spaces, so it presents us with the opportunity to create visual interest and hide any unsightly walls. From a wellbeing perspective, think outdoor mirrors, shelves for planting, climbers and garden art. Anything to stimulate the senses, and improve your view, and in turn your outdoor R&R.

Add some colour

The science of colour is an article all of its own, but it plays a significant part in our general wellness. Research has shown that certain colours often hold a greater association with a feelings of wellbeing. For example, yellow is often linked with general feelings of calmness and happiness. But for me, just colour in general. We want a garden to look vibrant and alive.

The key for me is not so much which colour, but all year round colour. That  year-round interest is what enables us to really enjoy our gardens whatever the season. We don’t just want to gain a sense of wellbeing in the spring. Opt for plants that offer more than just flowers, those with colourful leaves, stems, berries and even smell will all work.

I appreciate now is not the time to take a trip to the local garden centre, but I feel it is the perfect opportunity to sit down with a sketch pad, and do a little research and planning for when the lockdown is lifted and this is all over.

Keep learning 

And that last point leads nicely on…

The great thing about gardening, is there’s always so much more we can learn, new trends emerging etc. Take the time now to do a little planning. Redesign your garden, research a new planting scheme maybe?

There is often as much enjoyment to be derived from the planning as the doing and using. Maybe download an app such as iScape.

Take pleasure in the planning. Teach yourself a new skill. Another vital source of health and wellbeing is keeping our minds active. Our gardens are great source of inspiration, and there is such a wide range of things to learn.

I feel like I have only scratched the surface with this subject.

There is so much more the Lazy Susan team and I could share in terms of design ideas and practical advice, so I’m sure we will revisit this subject in the near future.

For me, the concept of a wellbeing garden, is well, whatever you want it to be. Create something that is beautiful to look at, to sit in and enjoy, then we can use that space to try and alleviate stress, anxiety or even depression.

That space can help you forget those things, even it its just for a moment of reflection during these strange times. All that’s left for us to say is ‘Stay Home and Stay Safe’!

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