Garden Graffiti (Part 9): How to Build a Sanctuary in Your Backyard

…by guest writer Johanna Cider

Gardens bring with them a whole philosophical tradition that asserts the regenerative power of nature, so your efforts to create a calming space outside will surely do your soul good.

The following ideas for your backyard sanctuary will get you started – and since they’re all eco-friendly, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’re looking after the larger environment by creating one of your own.

1. Establish a bird/butterfly garden.

We can all do our bit to foster the eco-system, which is why bird and flower gardens are such a great option for sustainable landscaping.

Cultivating a wildlife sanctuary of your own – whether a bird habitat or a butterfly garden – will not only get beautiful creatures flocking to your garden, but it’ll ensure the longevity of these species into the future.

2. Design your garden for mental clarity

Spend some time working out the landscaping design that will ease your mind whenever you venture into your garden. Do you like classical, Augustan-style gardens, or does a wild English flower garden appeal? Make a mood board, and get designing.

3. Invest in garden sculptures

Garden sculptures are a wonderful way to introduce some structure into your outside space. Satisfy your environmental conscience by choosing sculptures made out of recycled materials.

4. Use rocks and stones

Use rocks and stones to create a thick fence to separate parts of your garden, or to form a rustic walkway that snakes through the middle of the yard. Stone, of course, is a natural material, so you won’t be incurring any debts to the environment in utilizing it.

5. Try a pergola/gazebo

Don’t forget seating! You’ll be needing a place to chill out and enjoy your garden – so why not make a romantic gazebo or pergola your next big building project? Visit your local industrial or logging tip for abandoned materials.

6. DIY some wood furniture

You might also consider taking a trip to the beach to collect some driftwood, and seeing what you can create in terms of outdoor furniture from there.

A lick of all-weather varnish, and your sustainable bench or table will be complete!

7. Consider a container

Reclaiming an old shipping container will open up innumerable possibilities for your eco-friendly garden sanctuary.

Repurpose your container as a plant habitat, turn it into a charming backyard hideaway for reading and painting, or make it over as an aviary.

8. Water = instant calm

Whether you choose to inject a bit of H20 in the form of a birdbath, or to go all-out with a koi pond, one of the essentials of a true garden sanctuary is water.

9. Swing your way to inner peace

Invest in (or DIY!) a hammock or swing seat for napping, reading or just contemplating the world.

10. Remember the centre

As a general landscaping rule, gardens are more aesthetically pleasing – and more amenable to relaxation – if arranged around a central feature.To this end, situate a big oval flowerbed, a water fountain, or a garden sculpture or pond in the middle of your yard.

11. Cater to all the senses

Since gardens aren’t just about aesthetics, let the sounds of nature lull you interest, too.

Windchimes, for example, are a great way to introduce subtle music into the garden, and better yet, you can create one yourself with old cutlery.

12. Foster ambience with fire

Install a backyard firepit or fireplace for some rustic ambience on chilly nights; after all, there’s nothing better than feeling as if you’re camping out in your own backyard.

About the Author: Johanna Cider is a freelance writer based in Auckland, New Zealand with experience writing about travel and lifestyle. You can read more of her work on her Tumblr.

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check out all my articles in
"Sustainable Gardening, Eating, and Living"

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