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If you’ve got a garden, you’re blessed and should do what you can to get the most out of it. And yet, many garden owners take their own little patches of green space for granted, and fail to properly take advantage of the great opportunities presented by them. With increasing numbers of people living in cities, gardens – and areas of green space that can be used for personal leisure in general – are not as accessible as they once were for the average person. This is especially unfortunate when you consider the fact that there is research to indicate that people who spend more time outdoors, and in nature specifically, have significantly better mental and physical health outcomes than those who spend the majority of their time indoors.
Here are a few projects you can engage in to make the most of your garden, instead of allowing it to go to waste.
Create a hanging fixture
Hanging garden features are breathtaking in their beauty, and often in the simplicity as well. The tradition of creating “hanging gardens” goes back to some of the earliest days and civilisations of recorded history, as in the case of the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon.” Hanging displays and fixtures are a great beginners project to engage in, in your garden, for various reasons.
For one thing, they can radically transform and improve the entire appearance of the garden just about overnight, which can then motivate you to do more work in your garden and take more pride in it.
For another thing, hanging fixtures are great in their versatility. You could create a hanging fixture comprised of creepers, or you could set about making a wall of succulents, depending on your preference.
Last but not least, hanging gardens are wonderfully space efficient, and allow you to enrich your garden significantly, even if it’s only a small patio space. You could almost think of hanging garden features as a form of “square foot gardening” – a gardening approach which is becoming increasingly popular for people living in flats and urban environments where space is at a premium.
Begin your own vegetable garden
For millennia, human civilisation in just about every corner of the earth has depended on the ability of people to cultivate the land, and produce food from it. These days, the vast majority of us aren’t involved in the food supply network in any meaningful way, but we still have a certain veneration for the idea of making things grow – perhaps especially when those things are foodstuffs.
Beginning your own vegetable garden can be a great way of getting back in touch with the fundamental rhythms of life, in a way that can boost your sense of well-being. There is also, of course, the added benefit that when you grow your own food (at least some of your own food) you are eating “organically” and “locally” to a degree far beyond what would be achievable via your local supermarket. Planting your own vegetable garden can also significantly enhance your sense of autonomy and self-reliance, and can help you to live in a more mindful and intentional way in general.
Aside from all that, however, the simple act of routinely tending to a crop that you’ve planted in your garden can serve as a meditation of sorts. It helps you to get out of your own head, and focus on something very physical and tangible – and that might be a great antidote to the kind of frustration and anxiety that many people feel as a result of being constantly surrounded by digital distractions in today’s world.
Create a pond
A pond is a great project for any garden, as long as you have the space for it. The process of digging a pond does not have to be overly complicated, and it’s the kind of thing that you can even do yourself with conventional gardening tools, as long as you’ve got a reasonable guide to follow, and the time and motivation to pursue the project.
Of course, you might want something more than a simple ornamental pond. Perhaps you want a larger, structurally reinforced pond where you can house fish, and set up artificial waterfalls and other features. A pond of this sort is likely to require a reasonable degree of professional help and intervention, but once completed, it can serve as your own personal “Zen garden” — complete with Koi fish if you like — and can bring a high degree of tranquillity and peace to your garden setting.
Whichever path you go down, building a pond in your garden is likely to have a dramatically positive aesthetic effect on the place, and can help to transform it into the kind of environment where you will be thrilled to lounge back in a cozy chair, with a good book.
Build a shed
When we think of garden sheds, we typically think of small structures which we use exclusively for storing our rakes, spades, wheelbarrows, and other bits of gardening equipment when they’re not in use. However, if you have the space and financial resources for it, your shed could actually be something more like a mini cottage. The much-loved children’s author Roald Dahl famously did his writing in a shed at the end of his garden, which he had converted into a small study for himself.
Your own shed could serve as a DIY room, a place for pursuing your artistic ambitions (with easels, brushes, and all) or even a small guest room, or outdoor sitting room. You could have a shed built on your property courtesy of the company you bought it from, but you could also simply have the foundational structure set up, and the pieces delivered, and could then set about building it yourself as a drawn-out DIY project.
And if you thought building a small bookcase, or sanding down an old chair was fulfilling, wait until you can boast that you constructed your own shed.