A secret garden


mysecretgarden2The evening sun has just about set, leaving the night silent and still. Occasionally, a slight breeze blows through the trees, as you make your way through a secluded walkway formed by rows of arbor vitae and softly lit by the warm glow of pathway lights. You notice the subtle scent of jasmine, as you make your way slowly towards a clearing, and as you approach and take a peak through, you see your spouse sitting by a small table for two, with dinnerware and wine glass set, ready for a relaxing dinner, al fresco style. The autumn air is a bit cool, but the outdoor fireplace is lit, providing a pleasant warmth and a romantic glow from the dancing flames.

This is my idea of a little bit of paradise, one that I can enjoy whenever I need a break from a hectic and stressful day.  And while you might think that a secret garden is something that you can only find in the exclusive manor houses of the rich and famous, the fact is, you can easily create a romantic and private atmosphere in your own yard, with a little creativity and some hard work.

So what are the elements of a secret garden? Privacy, or even just the illusion of privacy, is necessary to create an ideal romantic atmosphere. After all, you want to be able to enjoy your meals and special occasions without the neighbors constantly passing by to say hello. There are a couple of ways to achieve this.

mysecretgarden2The simplest is using a decorative garden fence panel.  Some are freestanding, and can be strategically placed to block out the view from neighbors. Even if the panels cannot totally obstruct the view, it can afford a good measure of privacy to your space. Another option is to use plants as a screen. Arbor Vitaes are a popular choice, and can be planted in individual pots that can be moved and rotated to accommodate the plants as they get larger. Another very quick growing plant is bamboo, and due to its prodigious ability to grow and spread, it can transform your space and add privacy in a very short time. However, be careful with bamboo – since it does grow so rapidly, it can also easily overrun your yard. Best to plant bamboo in sturdy containers to help control its growth and prevent it from spreading in places you don’t want.

Once you’ve sectioned off your ideal space, it’s time to add some focal points. A petite, café style table and two chairs would be great for small spaces and is perfect for those romantic dinners. If space allows, and you like to entertain, then go for a larger set, enough to accommodate special guests.

mysecretgarden3A water feature is a great way to add some interest as well, and it doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple freestanding fountain, or a small koi pond will do the trick. Or for more drama, check out some freestanding fireplaces or fire pits. Styles range from elegant wrought iron chimineas, adobe style ones made from fired clay to modern and sophisticated fire columns made from stainless steel and glass that run off of propane tanks.

As a hobby, gardening is a creative activity with tangible results that can be enjoyed by everyone who visits. It is a more physical hobby than say, poetry or photography, and can easily be enjoyed by both young and old. Even children, who may not be able to fully enjoy the subtlety and complexities of poetry, sculpting or other artistic hobbies, can get great pleasure from a small garden fish pond or the sights and smells from a well maintained yard. By incorporating simple elements that provide you with privacy and some drama, you can easily turn your outdoor space into your own secret garden.

Check out more pictures of My garden