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3 Simple Design Ideas for a Zen Outdoor Space

Amidst lockdowns and times of uncertainty, many of us looked inward to our homes to provide calming and safe spaces, including our outdoor areas. That’s why, in today’s post, we’re going to be sharing tips on how to create a zen outdoor space, however you like to relax.

The following is a guest post by Suhayl Laher

Amidst lockdowns and times of uncertainty, many of us looked inward to our homes to provide calming and safe spaces, including our outdoor areas.

As a result, many gardens became like a ‘fifth room’, offering the perfect area for relaxation and spending quality time outdoors – and this trend seems to be here to stay.

That’s why, in today’s post, we’re going to be sharing tips on how to create a zen outdoor space, however you like to relax.

So, whether your idea of unwinding is soaking up the sun, chilling with pals on warm summer evenings or pottering, planting and pruning, we have garden design ideas to suit everyone.

1. The wild and whimsical

 Relax to the sounds of wildlife with a wild and whimsical garden design that allows nature to be the star of the show.

The key to a successful wild garden is to accept the imperfections that come with natural habitats, seeing them as beautiful traits. This means letting things grow their own way, simply pruning them back from time to time to keep paths clear and to help promote regrowth.

For flower beds and planters, opt for a mixture of species to create a striking sea of color – a wildflower seed blend can be an easy option here. Also, embrace longer grass and weeds, as some species can be very pretty.

You may also want to include a water feature like a pond to attract a wider variety of wildlife and boost that sense of serenity.

When it comes to practical additions like furniture and hardscaping materials, opt for a rustic theme with wood and stone elements aplenty to give your wild wonderland a cohesive finish.

2. The simple and serene

If clean lines and a simple design is more your style, there’s plenty of scope for carving out a calm and soothing outdoor zone for reading, meditating or socializing.

In large gardens, this may look more like a defined relaxation zone, while smaller backyards may benefit from a full minimalist makeover.

Achieving your pared-back haven requires a carefully curated balance of texture, decoration and color. To start, lay a solid and versatile foundation with a grounding neutral color palette.

Durable stone effect outdoor tiles in beige or a pale gray are ideal for floors and walls, bringing both texture and a soothing hue.

Pair with darker wood or metal to create crisp color and texture contrasts for furniture and structural elements like a pergola or trellis.

When it comes to plants, avoid fussy florals and instead use big, bold leafy species. Ideally, you want a mixture of fauna and green shades here to help boost your mood.

For decorative touches, a simple water feature is a must. Set amidst a blend of soft-touch fabrics for furnishings and a few modern ornaments, you’ll have all the ingredients for the perfect serene sanctuary outside.

3. The practical and sustainable

 With evidence to suggest that the act of gardening itself can help to improve mental and physical health, zen outdoor spaces aren’t just about creating relaxing seated areas.

Having a practical and sustainable outdoor space where you can grow your own can provide the perfect escape and a chance to practice mindfulness.

Creating a practical and sustainable garden doesn’t always need lots of room – even modest spaces can yield a decent crop with the right design and plants that utilize vertical space.

To keep maintenance low and optimize the functionality of your outdoor space, opt for raised flower beds that make it easier to weed and pick your produce.

If you like to keep things orderly, plant vegetables and fruits in groups. For instance, keep root vegetables like carrots, beetroots and potatoes together, while other species like lettuces, herbs and edible flowers can go in another area.

Also, make sure sprawling plants like pumpkins, butternut squash, courgettes and cucumbers have plenty of space to grow, as well as vertical support to keep them from taking up too much ground space.

You can also make better use of space and make crops easier to pick for things like peas, beans, raspberries and blackberries by using growing frames along walls.

Whatever you choose to grow outdoors, you can help to promote sustainability and keep the zen vibes going by using organic, eco-friendly materials, pesticides and fertilizers.

With these ideas and practical tips, we hope you find all the inspiration you need to give your outdoor areas a zen makeover this spring. Whether you prefer to soak up the sun with a good book or get your hands dirty planting, there are plenty of ways to create your very own outdoor haven.

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