July - Enjoy summertime in the garden

Whether starting the day with tea and toast on the patio, relaxing in the shade, dining alfresco, or watching the sun setting with a cool drink, what better place to spend summer than in the garden. Bright mornings, sunny days and warm balmy evenings tempt us outside to enjoy a dose of green therapy, boosting our mood and recharging the batteries.

Designing social spaces into your garden creates opportunities to play and have fun in the sun, entertain over a tasty barbecue, or chill out with family and friends. Comfy furniture helps you relax in style, whether it’s reclining chairs, a hammock strung between trees, or a gently swinging seat in the shade.

Surrounding yourself with plants brings you closer to nature, improving mood and relieving depression. Looking out onto a garden provides a dose of ‘green therapy’, taking away aches and pains, speeding-up rehabilitation after illness, and improving mental health. That feeling of wellbeing you get from just being outside comes from a boost of what have colloquially been called ‘outdoorphins’, similar to the endorphins your body produces during exercise that reduce pain and raise the spirits.

Scientists also call this ‘biophilia’, an inbuilt need for humans to connect with nature and other forms of life, and have demonstrated how gardening and being outdoors in a natural setting can satisfy this intrinsic need.

Gardens can be vibrant outdoor rooms with space to entertain, socialise and play. They can also be places of peace and solitude to escape into and relax, or somewhere comfortable to unwind, practice mindfulness and recharge.

Both gardens and houseplants absorb pollutants from the air we breathe, while dense boundary hedging reduces noise from roads and the general surroundings. And by planting shrubs, trees, hedges and climbers around our homes we’ll provide shelter from scorching sun and wind that in turn reduce heating and cooling costs, producing a much more comfortable environment to sit out and enjoy summertime in your garden.