How to Make Life Easier with a Garden Sanctuary

The word ‘sanctuary’ is defined as: 1) a place of refuge or safety, 2) a nature reserve. A Garden Sanctuary blends both of those together and becomes a place of refuge in the middle of nature.

Can you think of any better thing to do than to lose yourself in the peace, quiet and beauty of your own Garden Sanctuary?

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large oak tree in a field of green grass surrounded by other trees and bordered by a dirt walking path

When life gets tough, we need a place to go and think things through. When life gets hectic, we need a place to relax. And some days, we just want a quiet place to enjoy an Afternoon Tea.

One of the best places to find respite is outside. The fresh air and sunshine can be healing and relaxing. But if you don’t have anywhere to sit and enjoy it all, it may be time to build yourself a Garden Sanctuary.

What is a Garden Sanctuary?

an old wooden park bench in sepia tone

A Garden Sanctuary is a comfortable place in your yard where you can take a moment to rest and reflect. Do you have a shade tree in your yard? What about a flower bed? Both of those are instant Garden Sanctuaries.

It doesn’t have to be a huge place, nor does it have to be fancy. All that is required is a place to sit among Nature’s beauty.

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Why Have a Garden Sanctuary?

Living a fast-paced life or being forced to put the brakes on due to the recent unsettling events that are taking place, we all need a quiet place to reflect. With self- or forced quarantines, being inside all day can get old.

Having a place outdoors where you can sit, think reflect can be the best thing for you to do. It is also a place you can read, work on a craft project, or just rest for a few moments.

We all need our own space. Having a Garden Sanctuary can be the best place to escape!

How to Build a Garden Sanctuary

a bright blue rocking chair with a pink book open on the seat; an iron table with a stack of books

A Simple Sanctuary

The simplest way to create a garden sanctuary is to find a shady spot under a tree, or next to an existing flowerbed. Place a chair and small table, a garden bench, or even a swing, and voila! Garden Sanctuary!

Even better – if you have two large, sturdy trees relatively close together, consider adding a hammock. That would be a perfect place to take a nap, contemplate life or read a great book!

A Bit More Elaborate

a rustic wood bench in front a pond ringed with trees

If you want something a bit more elaborate, it is just a matter of planning. First, you need to determine how much space you have to incorporate a garden in your yard.

You will decide if you want flowers, herbs, vegetables or herbs in your garden. For a more productive bed, consider adding all three!

Your next step will be to measure the space you have available, as well as any design plans you want to make. Your design should incorporate an area large enough to add a chair and a small table. A circle or horseshoe shape would be perfect!

a white enamelware tea pot, vintage lavender teacup, plate filled with a muffin, strawberries and cookies

This will insure you have a place to sit and enjoy Afternoon Tea and a plate of cookies. After all, what is a Sanctuary without a bit of physical nourishment!

Once you know the size of your area and the design, it is time to get paper and pencil out. Sketch the overall design. If possible, use graph paper to make it as close to scale as you can. Then begin by adding circles, squares or triangles to show the placement of your plants.

Be sure to check the growing conditions and spacing needs of each plant. For instance, if you want to plant lavender in a corner, choose other plants that prefer drier soil. Move plants that prefer wet soil to the other side of the garden.

cement water feature with a stone pitcher at the top pouring water into smaller stone bowls

Make it Fancy!

If you have the room, consider designing your new garden to add pathways and a small water feature. Water features can range from a small fountain placed among the foliage, to a birdbath or larger fountain.

Also consider ‘decorating’ your garden with some fun elements. These can be anything from whimsical containers to a toad house!

flower garden with red, blue, pink, yellow, and white flowers with pots and containers placed throughout

Mix it Up!

Take advantage of adding a new space and incorporate both beauty and nourishment. Plant taller plants in the back of your new garden to keep them from shading shorter plants.

Mix flowers, vegetables and herbs in the same garden. This gives you a beautiful array of scents, textures, and sizes. Your garden will provide a wonderful harvest – from the meals you prepare to the floral centerpiece while you eat!

Another option you may want to consider is a Theme Garden. This is where you focus on one type of planting, such as a Salsa Garden or plants for bees and butterflies. Choose plants that will work well.

Dig In!

a rustic green bench, purple, turquoise and pink notebooks, purple pen, and a mug that reads Hope in green

Once you have your design laid out, then it’s time to plant the garden. Remove any grass in your new area. Dig your soil at least three feet deep and loosen the soil. The best way to do this is with a garden tiller, but it can be done with a shovel.

Amend the soil with compost. If your soil is heavy clay, consider adding a bit of sand. When starting a new bed, I often amend my soil with a mixture of compost, peat moss and a bag or two of organic potting soil. Once the garden is established, I simply add compost as needed once a year.

Start Planting

small wooden bistro set placed in front of pink, peach, and white rose bushes

Before you add the plants, you may want to put any decorations in place first. You can then plant around them as necessary. Just be sure to account for spacing.

If you are starting from seed, two of the best places to get some great ones are Mary’s Heirloom Seeds and Eden Brothers. There you can find a great selection of flower, vegetable and herb seeds, as well as a nice array of gardening tools!

a young man wearing a green shirt and khakis, playing a ukulele with his beagle dog watching

Now that you have your Garden Sanctuary set up, just add a chair, a small table, and you. Take a breather. Relax. Contemplate life, or possibly even start working on a new Lifestyle Plan. Read a good book. Or even just enjoy the peace and quiet for a few minutes.

Before you know it, you may never want to go back inside, as you will now have your own personal Garden Sanctuary and happy place!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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