A time to reflect

18th January 2021

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How was your 2020? Take a moment to think about it beyond your initial reaction…

Amid the concern and restrictions to daily life as we know it, not to mention Christmas with a difference, there was a lot to be thankful for. When I ask people what the main things they cherished last year were, other than friends and family, it was their garden; a safe haven to spend time outside in away from other people. Anyone lucky enough to have some outside space to call their own, whether it’s a balcony to grow vegetables on or a garden with a swimming pool, it is fair to say that gardens have taken centre stage.

The power of plants

Plants make people happy. They can also transform a space and are perfect for creating instant impact. If you would like some help with a planting design

Gardens have become our sanctuary, an oasis of safety in an uncertain world. For some people, the pandemic has caused high anxiety, depression and feelings of loneliness. Plants and gardening have been proven to be good for your mental well-being as well as your immune system. Gardening is now prescribed by doctors as a form of therapy and rehabilitation. We know it’s important for children to be able to get outside and play but a recent study by the University of Helsinki has actually proven that children who play outdoors have significantly higher good bacteria in their guts and increased T-cells in their blood (an immunity marker).

Suddenly spending more time at home than usual shone a light on the inadequacies our gardens had, or how they weren’t working for us as a family.

What do you want from your garden?

At the start of any design or build project we always ask our clients how they are planning on using their garden (other than for sitting in). In our experience, the top five things people want are:

  • Entertaining space; with areas for a BBQ, sun loungers, hot tub and firepit for colder nights
  • Children’s play area
  • Plants for screening
  • Display sculpture
  • Grow your own; fruit orchards and vegetable allotments

A survey during lockdown has shown that house property searches have changed dramatically. Kitchens are no longer the deal breaker, with a private garden now top of the “must have” list. People are clamouring to redesign their gardens to really make the space work for them. Lockdown has shone a light on any flaws and deficits gardens might have. Now is the time, if you can, to invest in your garden

Plan for the future

Have you ever caught yourself saying ”once this is all over I’m going to…”? Maybe you are looking forward to having all your friends round for a BBQ, celebrate a belated birthday with a garden party, have more staycations and save the money you would have spent on an overseas holiday on home & garden improvements?

Whilst you may not be able to implement your ideas immediately, now is the time to make plans. If it helps, make a list of pros and cons. Planning such a garden requires a combination of skills and with so much choice out there it can be a bit daunting. Whether you intend to create your own design or use a professional garden designer, it is important to follow a logical design process to ensure the garden meets your needs. Here’s some simple guidance on where to start

Remember how to play

We have lost many of the freedoms we took for granted and things can seem overwhelming at times, so I asked my four year old what the best part of having a garden is. He said “getting fresh air, which makes you feel happy”. During the first lockdown we created a mini allotment, grew radishes (for Peter Rabbit) and built a mini dinosaur garden in an old car tyre. He also said that it’s fun to watch plants grow, make dens and PLAY.

I think we can all take something from this, as we enter the new year (and another lockdown), let’s make it a resolution to appreciate our outdoor space and make time to play.