We all love our families and appreciate our friends. Building and maintaining solid loving relationships is what life is truly all about or at the very least makes life worth living. However, sometimes even someone who is dedicated to friends and family orientated needs time alone. Short spells spent in quiet reflection can recharge the batteries and restore the soul.
So, what better way to get that much needed “me time” than to build your own private sanctuary; you can even share it with family and friends if you all need to chill out.
The Outdoor Sanctuary
If you would like to create a place of refuge where you can sit and relax while enjoying fresh air and natural surroundings you should consider converting part, or all, of your garden into a sanctuary.
Imagine creating a space that is relaxing and also filled with scents and sights to delight your personal senses. A sanctuary can be anything you can imagine and give you so much more than the effort it takes to create e it offering a place of refuge for many years to come.
Many people design their garden sanctuary using a typical romantic garden as inspiration but you should design your own private sanctuary in a way that has privacy while it elicits relaxation and gives you a sense of peace and tranquility.
When Will You Most Use Your Sanctuary
First, it is necessary that you consider the purpose of your sanctuary.
What do I mean by that?
Well do you want a quiet spot that you can enjoy during the daylight hours?
If so, does it need to be secluded and shaded or would you rather have direct sunlight and a tranquil but open view?
Are you creating an outdoor sanctuary to enjoy at night?
If so, be sure that there is enough room to place sufficient lighting and some sort of outdoor fire.
You will also want to plant evening-loving plants that bloom and give fragrance as the sun goes down as outlined below.
You obviously need to take such considerations into account before you choose your location.
Location, Location, Location
Once you know the purpose of your garden sanctuary you will know whether you want it to be placed sun facing or would rather have it in a shaded area.
If you already have an idea of how you will use your garden sanctuary then it should be relatively easy to select the appropriate area to start construction of your sanctuary based on your needs.
For example wanting to create your private sanctuary encircled with foliage for optimum privacy but also wanting roses may prove to be a problem. Roses do not normally flourish in a very shaded area as they need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to thrive.
Obviously this applies to many other species of plants and therefore you may need to compromise on either location or plants if you have a very definite image in mind.
Of course there are many different varieties of colorful flowers that enjoy shade and a little creativity can allow you to create a similar environment by simply using different plants.
For example lily of the valley is a beautiful white bell shaped flower that is perfect for any sanctuary due to, not only is exquisitely pleasing flowers but also because of its, sweet scent. Just be aware that this flower is highly poisonous if ingested and care should be taken if animals and children have access to the garden.
The reverse applies to well lit, sunny sanctuary’s that will require plants that thrive in sunlight.
The most well known of the sun-loving flowers is the aptly named sunflower.
However, there are many others from marigolds to geraniums that can offer you an array of colour and aroma depending on your taste and the type of esthetic surrounding you wish to create.
For example in direct sunlight pink petunias can offer vibrant colour while Ageratum adds a calming almost Christmas-like effect.
So the lightening of the area and the amount of sunlight it gets will be a major determining factor in what type of foliage, flowers and bedding you plant and you need to take this into consideration when making the initial decision about the sanctuary’s purpose.
Outdoor Privacy Ideas
Regardless of whether you create your sanctuary in a sun-drenched spot or prefer the coolness of the shade you will want to plan for privacy.
The entire point of creating this personal space is to have a place of serenity. So, you really don;t want the prying eyes of the neighbours or casual passers-by interrupting your “zen”.
Creating a sense of privacy can be achieved with bushes, high climbing plants or by simply locating your new space in a private area of your garden away from house windows and public pathways.
The rule-of-thumb is to create a sense of enclosure and safety. Even you have very limited space a small private area can be created by placing a solitary chair, or bench, and surrounding it by leafy plants with thick growths.
You can even create this type of space if you have limited, or no, grassy areas and only have a paved surface to work with.
Potted plants, trellis with growing ivy, or other creepers, and perhaps a bamboo screen can all be used to create privacy and a sense of nature.
The Sound of Silence
There are ways to dampen these intrusions. As well as using large foliage to clock out unwanted sounds you can also add water features such as fountains or small rock fountains.
The addition of wind chimes and bells can also help mask the sound of normal life while helping to create a more tranquil environment.
The Sound of Nature
You can also plant flowers that attract birds, butterflies and bees.
By far the best plants and flowers to choose are those that are indigenous to your area as these will automatically attract airborne noise reducers.
However, there are a huge variety of plants you can use to attract our little flying friends that will not only make your santuary come alive with natural beauty but that will also greatly help the natural environment even if you live in the middle of a city block.
According to Almanac.Com:
“Brightly–colored flowers that are tubular hold the most nectar, and are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. These include perennials such as bee balms, columbines, daylilies, and lupines; biennials such as foxgloves and hollyhocks; and many annuals, including cleomes, impatiens, and petunias.”
Bees are now an endangered species and doing anything, even the smallest actions, can help protect this vital part of of ecosystem.
According to the Sunny Gardener in the uK:
“Butterflies often prefer a large flower head to land on, bees can climb into foxgloves but like open flowers as well. Bees see colour differently, and are attracted to blues (and yellow which they see as blue) Most herbs are bee magnets, oregano and chives are often covered with masses of bees and insects”
Engage All Your Senses
Don’t forget the importance of aroma plays in a sanctuary.
The obvious choices for smell are populars plantings such as roses and lavender. However, consider planting herbs and even fruits if your climate will allow.
If you have limited space be sure to combine both colour and fragrance by choosing plants that offer both.
Flowering plants such as lilacs, lilies, roses, jasmine, wisetria and frangipani are extremely pleasing to eye as well as to the nostrils.
The bright pink bloom of the sweet pea is added to but its intensely sweet fragrance.
Gardenia is a favourite among brides due to its purity of colour and its its gorgeous aroma.
The deep red a four o’clock blooms in evening and offers a delightful powerful smell to create a great sense of tranquility at night.
For variety try the the chocolate cosmos, named for the chocolate coloured leaves and smell.
This plant will not only offer you a unique features in your garden but will create a chocolate and vanilla scent that most people find soothing.
It also blooms mostly at night and would therefore be great for a sanctuary used mostly in the evenings and at night.
Be sure to make your sanctuary comfortable. Aesthetics are important but they will all avail to nothing if you can’t relax.
Don’t cut-back when it comes to garden furniture as this is just as important as the plants you grow.
If you can only fit a small wooden chair into a tight space then use persian cushions to add colour and comfort.
If you have a large space then your choice of outdoor furnishings is limited only by your imagine and your wallet.