Landscape Design: A Secret Garden

All of us could use a distinctive place in a backyard where we can unwind, read a novel, like a cup of java or listen to the birds. It can be a escape we discuss with others or use for personal contemplation. No matter the size, place or purpose, the key feature stays the same — it needs to be partially hidden from the external world: a garden.

Among my design mantras is that a garden ought to be experienced, not just detected, and integrating a secluded nook is one approach to attain this. Create a sense of anticipation by winding paths around billowing shrubs to obscure the last destination. Or split a winding path in this manner that people unexpectedly discover a clearing in the forest where a weathered wooden bench or 2 invites them to linger. Smaller gardens can still have this sense of surprise; just tuck a simple chair below a statuesque tree or maybe behind wispy ferns and tall grasses.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Many of these projects are possible to complete in a weekend or not.

Thuilot Associates

1. The Hidden Clearing

there’s something exciting about abruptly coming across an open space in an otherwise densely planted backyard. It is possible to attain this effect no matter how big or small your garden is. Even clearing just a little spot behind a stand of tall grasses can make that sense of intrigue.

While larger spaces can serve as gathering places for toasting marshmallows over a fire, smaller nooks can be a place for sitting and viewing dragonflies dance.

Le jardinet

The clearing has to be discovered, instead of fully visible. Use layers of trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses to wrap your secret garden with living walls.

This hidden oasis might be a destination point at the end of a path or a midpoint to be appreciated as part of a longer garden journey.

Oehme, van Sweden Landscape Architecture

The clearing can be a large entertaining space or a secluded spot for 2. Think about the planned function before you tackle any significant construction. Main entertaining areas are best sited near the kitchen, whereas the secret garden is likely to be tucked further away.

Le jardinet

Eliminate a few plants from the interior portion of a heavily planted edge and add a layer of bark mulch or gravel to make an instant nook.

Use repurposed objects to create your own seating. Here the designer put an off cut of ornamental acrylic over sections of pipe. Logs would be another ideal seating choice for a setting.

NatureWorks Landscape Services, Inc..

2. The Secluded Nook

Not all backyard seating areas need to be formal decks, patios or balconies. A secret garden can be nestled into the edge of a border right one of the plants, providing you a front-row seat for viewing butterflies and smelling the roses. Add a lot of plants behind and to each side to make a leafy enclosure. Fragrant plants in such an intimate space could be a beautiful bonus.


Limb up an existing tree (prune the branches) to make a little space beneath its dappled canopy. The tree can be alongside a path or within a backyard border.

Search garage sales and thrift stores for enchanting chairs which can be spruced up with paint.

Le jardinet

3. The Arbor Refuge

An arbor might seem to be an unlikely option for a secret garden, however you can allow it to be even more secluded by shrouding the structure with appealing vines and from planting shrubs and grasses into the side.

Camouflage furniture by selecting finishes and colors that blend in with the surroundings, such as timber tones and soft greens.

MCM Design

Hang a hammock or swing chair from an existing overhead construction. Raised decks frequently have an area underneath that goes rancid.

Island Gardens Company

4. The Hillside Retreat

Substantial changes in altitude are frequently considered a design challenge in gardens, nevertheless they can be used to advantage when you’re designing a secret escape. Tuck a bench against the face of the hillside so it’s going to be seen only when someone is exploring the winding path. The hillside and plantings will conceal the bench when it is seen from above.

Put the bench so that it hugs the hillside safely while allowing sufficient room to pass by easily. A view of a decrease garden or an open vista increases the adventure of discovery.

Dig Your Garden Landscape Design

Save the price of furniture by just adding vibrant weatherproof cushions to the top of a retaining wall.

More: Unwind in Your Own Private Garden Escape

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