Vanessa Drew, Landscape Designer at Tobermore talks about practising Mindfulness and using your garden to enjoy some time ‘offline’
In today’s world, most of us use technology every day for work and to stay connected with friends and family. However, although the advantages are numerous, we may never mentally switch off or have down time. This can be a contributing factor to stress related illness.
Mindfulness is a very simple method of switching off, even for 5 minutes in your day. It can be done anywhere at any time. It requires no special equipment or gym membership and is completely free of charge. Although it can be done anywhere, one of the best places is in your garden.
You don’t need a huge country garden to benefit from mindfulness. All you need is a calm, quiet, attractive space where you can sit in comfort to appreciate the sights and sounds of nature.
Products used: Mayfair Flags Silver, Sienna Setts Graphite
If you would like to transform part of your garden to relax and enjoy, look for an area which gets the sun at some point of the day. Restful, neutral colours can help relaxation, for example Tobermore Tegula Bracken with a Golden Sett border would work well. If you have a larger area available, Historic Bracken Flags could also be used.
Greenery can help to add calm, whether this is a lawn or some shrubs. Sitting with planting behind you can help to block out traffic noise in a city garden, so perhaps a raised bed constructed from Secura Lite walling could create the perfect backdrop. If you don’t have room for a raised bed, container plants would also be suitable; Bamboo, Skimmia or Pittosporum are evergreen and will do well in a large pot for a few years. The sound of water is also very relaxing, but a water feature is not essential for mindfulness.
Products used: Sienna Graphite, Sienna Setts Silver, Historic Circle Slate
Mindfulness requires you to be able to focus on your breathing and switch off for 5 minutes. This may be hard to do if your garden looks as if it needs attention. An outside space which is easy to maintain and keep looking good all year round will provide the perfect escape to practice Mindfulness each day. If you have a lawn, consider laying a mowing edge, it will save time mowing as you don’t have to get the strimmer out to finish the edges. Shannon Paving laid flush with the grass is a good option for this.
Another way to reduce the maintenance in a large garden is to divide it up to create ‘rooms’ within your garden. This means you can focus on making one small area attractive and full of plants features, whilst leaving another area as a blank canvas in grass or gravel.
Country Stone walling is a good choice to create the feeling of a walled garden. Planting in front could be in a raised bed or even at ground level with a row of Kerbstones to retain the soil. Climbers and wall shrubs can be trained along the wall. An ideal combination would be honeysuckle, a climbing rose, Pyracantha and Ivy. This would ensure year-round interest for your senses through the perfume and sight of attractive flowers and berries. It will also attract birds and wildlife to your garden.
Products used: Country Stone Walling Bracken, Historic Flags Bracken, Kerbstone Charcoal
Once you have created your perfect haven, aim to take 5 minutes every day to sit outside and lose yourself in the moment. Listen to your own breathing and the sounds around you. When your mind wanders back to tonight’s tea or tomorrow’s work, simply bring your focus back to your breathing. You will find that 5 minutes of mindfulness every day can help you become calmer, more patient, and more productive. Far from being 5 minutes wasted, it should become an essential, useful part of your day.
Products used: Secura Lite Bracken, Sienna Setts Silver, Tegula Sett Bracken, Tegula Circle Bracken
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