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Creating the right mood for your garden

In this blog, we'll explore ways in which you can set the right mood when you’re doing up your garden.

For starters, you have to take care of the basic appearance before you can conjure up any mood. You don’t actually need to an established style. Your garden does not have to make a grand statement – as long as it’s comfortable and looks right, it can be truly pleasurable.

But making something look right does require an eye for design. Basically, it means that all components are in proportionate sizes, all shapes complement each other, and the space for access and seating is well thought out.

If you have a small garden, don’t put in a large pond or wall-high waterfall – it will look gigantic and out of proportion. Similarly, if you have sprawling land, placing a small pond will make the pond appear even tinier. So you need to think about proportionate scale not only for your furniture matching each other, but to match your actual garden space as well.

It's crucial to carefully place proportionate sized furnitures especially in tight spaces in order to achieve a natural looking garden and not awkward.

Straight lines or rectangular shapes may be too formal for your garden, but don’t make everything curvy just for the sake of having a “natural” look. You need to visualise the overall appearance.

Soften sharp corners with plants or pebbles. Plants are also ideal as a backdrop or to fill out odd angles. Look for existing shapes or lines that command the view in your garden – for example, a fence with rows of horizontal bars makes the area appear large and flat. You can design your garden to blend in with this mood, or go for stunning contrast by placing furniture with tall, vertical frames.

Remember, a garden can be viewed from multiple angles and each view might evoke a different mood!

Setting the mood

While appearance is a matter of designing layout, mood is a different tune altogether. Achieving the mood you want is trickier, because, unlike design, mood is personal and subjective.

You can learn about design in school, but you learn about mood from your experiences.

For example, a certain fragrant flower may remind you of childhood and thus, putting such flowers in your garden can evoke a pleasant, nostalgic feeling.

Or perhaps you remembered a salad bowl fountain in an overseas holiday, and having one in your garden makes you feel as if you are on vacation.

However, most people from my experience just want a relaxed mood and this can easily be created. Here’s a trick – put in a water feature. Have you ever caught yourself staring mindlessly for several minutes at fish in an aquarium? Moving water has the same tranquilizing effect on the mind. Imagine spending an hour in your garden hearing the sounds of flowing water, as opposed to sitting in your living room with the TV on or the hi-fi blaring. Serenity comes from a clear mind, not a distracted one overloaded with information.

Designing a garden for relaxation is pretty much about blocking off distractions and enhancing beauty. And of course, it must be comfortable. If your garden is hot even in the evenings, try putting up a pergola or plant big trees. Think about blocking off unpleasant sights using garden lattices, plants or bamboo blinds.

When it comes down to it, designing an outdoor living space is simple in concept, but challenging in implementation.

Plan well and spend reasonably the first time, and you can have a garden that will last into your old age. If you want things cheap and cut corners, you will end up with a garden you will not only resent, but might cost you more to remodel the second time around.

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