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Creating a serene landscape garden

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Your landscape is an expression of yourself. The colors, textures, quantity, placement, and types of plants are representations of you and your tastes and styles. Many people don’t consciously realize they are expressing themselves and sharing their likes and dislikes through their landscapes. But, you can learn a lot about a person by the surroundings that they create and maintain.

For me personally I enjoy landscapes that evoke a sense of peace, solitude, beauty, and overall serenity.

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Courtesy Brigham Young University-Idaho

Creating your own serene garden is a rewarding way to express yourself, share your personal style, and exercise your creative abilities for your own enjoyment and with those around you. With the hectic pace of life, a personalized landscape area that allows us to reflect and escape the demands of everyday living can be an invaluable tool for reenergizing ourselves. (Many of you are probably thinking that camping in the mountains is how you getaway, and it is a lot less work than taking care of a yard. And you are right!) But, if you want to have your own getaway then there are certain elements of design needed to making a private garden become your own place of serenity and peace. If this particular style of landscape design interests you, then here are some tips to make your yard a relaxing environment.

  • Control the sounds that enter your garden. Unwanted sounds such as a busy highway, people talking, machinery noise, and music playing detract from the solitude and quietness of a garden setting. To help reduce these sounds you can use masonry walls, hedges, trees, buildings, fences, and planting beds as buffers to decrease unwanted sound. You can also create desirable sounds to help muffle unwanted sounds in your garden. The sound of water running and splashing over rocks, the rustle of wind through tall grasses, or the fluttering of leaves on aspen trees can create a natural garden symphony and cover up sounds from outside the garden.
  • Direct and manage the light that shines into your garden spot. I have seen very well- designed gardens that have secluded quiet sitting areas, and would have been very welcoming, except there was way too much direct sunlight and it was hot, overly bright, and uncomfortable for people to linger and relax. A serene garden area will offer partial shade or filtered shade, giving some relief from the hot sun. On the other extreme having your garden fully shaded is fine, but occupants can start to feel claustrophobic or become chilled as the temperatures can be more cooler than desired.
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    Courtesy Brigham Young University-Idaho
  • Use rocks both large and small throughout your garden setting. Rocks give a sense of solidarity and constancy to your garden. They can be used as focal points, seating, walking pathways, stepping stones, and give contrast to the plants in your garden.
  • Create, direct, and enhance garden views. You can screen unwanted views with the use of plants or nonliving objects. You want to direct the focus and attention of garden occupants by giving them focal points to look at when visiting your garden. This could include a water feature, a curving wandering pathway, a unique rock, an especially beautiful plant, or a comfortable seating area where friends can catch up and visit. Included in the view is privacy, which is an integral part of a serene garden. The size of your garden does not necessarily determine how much privacy you will have, only the ability to reduce external factors will. Large gardens can give you a sense of privacy and openness at the same time by using screenings, focal points, and views. Small gardens are easier to be made into a private space as it requires less resources to screen out unwanted sources of distraction.
  • A critical element of creating a serene garden, which is often forgotten or neglected when people are building and planting their landscapes, is odor. You use all of your senses whether consciously or unconsciously, and the smells you encounter in an environment will affect the kind of experience you have. For example most people will enjoy a visit to a secluded garden that smells like flowers in bloom, earth right after rain, or the
    refreshing fragrance of wet pine trees. In contrast a garden that reeks of car exhaust or other unnatural odors will be an unwelcome setting no matter how beautiful it may visually appear. Planting grass, fragrant trees, shrubs, and flowers, maintaining a clean and fresh water feature, and using soil coverings like bark or soil pep can all contribute to a more positive odor in your serene garden. General cleanliness will help to prevent foul smells that may be produced from things like decomposing plant material. Locating your private garden away from odorous areas or at least upwind will also help to reduce undesirable experiences.
  • Serene gardens can be personal, and an excellent way to express what you enjoy most in the natural outdoor world. Good luck and happy gardening.

    For other ideas on gardening and landscaping feel free to contact Lance at (208) 624-3102.