The New Trend in Home Gardens—Landscaping to Calm Anxiety

Whispering grass, the lapping of a fountain, the mesmerizing crunch of gravel underfoot – Japanese priests have cultivated contemplative plans for centuries. Now home-bound Americans seeking diversion and escape are building home gardens that evoke some of this eastern horticultural wisdom.

At Soothing Company, a St. George, Utah retailer that specializes in exterior decor, fountain sales grew 35% year over year in 2020. And when Burpee, a plant and seed supplier in Warminster, Pennsylvania, bored a 30% increase in sales between 2019 and 2020, a pattern emerged: buyers were looking for plants that exuded calm. Sales increased for ornamental grasses and for flowers in historically less popular colors such as white and light blue. Burpee declared “serene gardens” to be a trend for 2021.

What is the difference between an oasis of calm and a typical garden? A more immersive experience. “Your attention is focused on sights, sounds, smells, textures – and the more multi-sensory you do something, the less likely you are to think about work,” said Dr. Giulia Poerio, a psychology researcher who focuses on emotions and emotional wellbeing at the University of Essex, England. How to Build Your Botanical Chill Pill.

Turn down the colors

Loud shades do not encourage serenity. “Reds, oranges, and yellows are hot colors that inspire passion,” said New York landscape architect Edmund Hollander, who recommends dismantling the other end of the spectrum for calm. “The gradation from blue to green is almost the color of a stream, with white and creams representing movement, if you will.”

Avoid wide open spaces

“When a view is partially blocked off, you create a sense of perspective and discovery,” said Los Angeles landscape architect Patricia Benner. Designer John Sharp, a colleague of Angeleno, prefers hiking trails that meander through the landscape. He introduces structures with plants such as winding Italian cypress trees or voluminous Mexican bush sage and softens hard edges – fences, walls, sheds, stairs – with lots of green. Mr. Hollander emphasizes the concept of the trip. “You cannot come out of the house and be in this room. You have to go somewhere, even if it’s only three steps. ”

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