How to relax best in your garden? Create a calm and beautiful space with these easy measures


When deciding how to relax in your garden, think about what your mind and senses need to most fully enjoy the outdoor environment. Involve your favourite colours, sounds, scents and surroundings in creating a place to do the things you love the most.

How to relax using colour and fragrance

When thinking about how to relax, ask yourself which plants would provide the ideal sensory backdrop. Which colours do you enjoy the most; gentle blues and purples or cheerful yellows and reds? And which fragrances would you most like to have carried on the summer breeze as you spend a relaxing half hour watching the clouds go by? Classic favourites include relaxing lavender, heady lilac and sweet honeysuckle, but it could also be fun to stroll around a garden centre and use your nose to get a wider choice of inspiration. Plant night-scented stock for blooms which open in the evening and offer a wonderful fragrance throughout the night.

Remember you can also mix and match - for example by choosing brighter colours and lighter scents for the area you plan to use for afternoon reading, and more heavily scented plants with blossoms in softer shades for the place you’ve designated for sitting during warm evenings.


Make a hideaway

Have a think about what you would most like to use your garden for and whether there is anything you need to change before you can do it. Whether you want to read, sunbathe, breakfast or do yoga in your garden, privacy is likely to be a key consideration when you’re thinking about how to relax. If that’s the case, fast growing shrubs or fencing could make all the difference to the enjoyment you get out of your outdoor space.

Consider lilac, forsythia or buddleia for a beautiful botanical screen or wooden fences for instant cover that you can grow colourful climbers up later. If you just need to fill a narrow gap, some tall sunflowers could do the job, as well as giving you something to look at as their colourful heads sway gently in the breeze.

Invite interesting company

When you have the garden to yourself and are wondering how to relax, nothing beats having some wildlife to watch. From passing bees and butterflies to the busy fluttering of inquisitive birds, garden visitors can be fascinating and relaxing at the same time, as well as helping you to reconnect with nature.

Attract butterflies and bees to enjoy the kind of classic drowsy garden scene you might find in picture books. You can do this with buddleias, lavender and wisteria, but most of all just with plenty of variety, ideally some native species, and few or no pesticides (if you need to use them, make sure you don’t use them on flowering plants).

To make your garden a haven for all kinds of birds, provide them with their favourite foods, whether these be shop-bought birdseed, fruit or seeds on your own trees and plants, or even just flowers that attract the insects they like (bird health is another good reason for avoiding pesticides). If you would like them to stay, provide them with convenient bathing, roosting and nesting places - well out of reach of neighbourhood cats - to make them feel safe and at home.

A special place for family and friends

Have a think about how to relax in the garden on different occasions and with different people too. Would an outdoor dining area encourage you to eat outside more and give you a good place to celebrate birthdays with family? Would a cosy nook with just two or three chairs be the ideal place to catch up with friends? If you have children, would a trampoline help to keep them occupied while you put your feet up? Or do you need an extra comfy chair in a shady spot for an older friend or relative?


Try creating the ideal atmosphere in your imagination first, then make it a reality one step at a time. Little details like sun umbrellas, windbreaks, windproof candle holders or enchanting outdoor lighting can also change a normal little garden into an outdoor paradise.

How to relax best in your garden is a very individual question, as it depends on how you most enjoy spending your time. Whether you understand relaxation as inactivity or being occupied, socialising or spending time alone, your garden can offer ideal solutions. Any outdoor space – however modest in size – offers you a change of scene and natural surroundings that will help you to unwind and make the most of the summer.