Think of your healing garden as a work of art or a poem. When you design your garden, try to include a feeling of rhythm for the viewer. Just as a catchy musical piece has a repeating chorus and satisfying beat, or in a poem you can hear alliteration or repeating rhymes, in your healing garden add repeated groups of plants and thoughtful vertical interest in the plant heights.
Fig 1. Repeated plantings
Fig 2. Rhythm in the garden
Fig 3. Layered planting
In Fig 1 above you can see repetition of the grey foliaged Senecio together with the smaller grey Santolina. The clipped balls of grey add structure to the garden design. In Fig 2. the glossy leaved Ligularia is planted in several bold groups while the slender trunked Cordyine is repeated. Your eye tends to move between the groups as you seek out similar textures. There is also pleasing vertical interest from the low ground-huggers, up the slender trunks and across the the medium sized clumps. The variation in texture also creates interest and drama.
Fig 3. shows how the eye moves along the horizontal layers of concrete blocks topped by the small leafed divaricated ground cover, with explosions of bold subtropicals popping up at intervals. Nice and dramatic!
Imagine the most peaceful, relaxing scene in your mind. Is it a forest glade with a crystal clear spring edged by ferny greenery; or is it a sunny meadow setting with waving grass and birdsong; or perhaps a secluded walled garden filled with scented plants. These are the types of scenes we often dream of when we are suffering from work burnout, information overload or commuter exhaustion.
You can create your own serene sanctuary or tranquil oasis in your garden. Whether you have an existing garden that you want to redesign or an awkward sized unused area on one side of your house, you can transform any part of your garden into a restful retreat. By concentrating on including healing garden design elements that make healing garden unique, you can create your own therapeutic sanctuary.
Your healing garden can serve many purposes. You might use it as a rest and relaxation space, as a spiritual meditation garden or as a contemplation garden. Whatever theme you choose for your urban retreat, you will find that there are certain design elements you will need to include to give it that tranquil ambience. These design elements include privacy, water features, planting palette and artworks. Over my next posts I will deal with these design elements in more detail.