Gardens can be a lot of work, but there is something so calming and almost spiritual about being so close to nature. You can create a beautiful, tranquil space in your yard to retreat to when you want some peace. With some careful planning and some smart plant choices, it will become your favorite place in the yard!

First, close your eyes and think about what you want: is it a bench under a shady tree where you can read a book, a beautiful array of colorful flowers where you can watch butterflies dance, or maybe a quiet spot near a little pond to meditate by? Once you know what you want in your garden sanctuary, you will be able to look around your yard and find the best location to fit your needs.

Then it’s time to measure. Carefully determine the space you are going to use and write down all the measurements you take. Using either design software or some graph paper, draw out what you want your space to look like. It is important to draw it to scale, so that you know exactly how much room you have for all the aspects you want to include.

Next, the actual labor starts. You need to clear the area you are going to use. You may need to clean up your garden space by removing any overgrowth and anything else you don’t want in the new area. This is also a good time to do any tilling or ground prep you might need to do for the new plants. If you want the area to be enclosed, add a new fence or other barrier (like a terrace you can train plants to climb or even a row of bushes or hedges) to set this area apart from other sections of your yard. Make the area as secluded as you need to feel like this is a real retreat.

Then comes the fun part: making your vision come to life! Select your plants carefully based on your soil, climate, lighting, and preferences. Be sure to add some plants that are light on maintenance to make things easier on yourself. You can also add a small artificial hill to create visual interest or to draw attention to a specific plant or tree.

Add some comfortable seating, lighting (solar lighting works well because your garden does not need to be near a power source, nor do you have to run extension cords), and any décor you find appealing. Remember, this is your special place to retreat and relax. Dress it accordingly! Decorative stones around plants, as seating, or to create a pathway, will accentuate the natural feel of your garden. The same thing goes for a water feature – the sound of running water is typically a very relaxing sound.  

The last thing on the list is probably my favorite: sit back in your garden, admire your hard work, and relax!