5 Steps to Create Your Secret Garden

You can design a secret garden from scratch or convert an existing area of the landscape into your personal getaway.

Here are a few tips to help you create a secret garden of your own.

Design Your Secret Garden

1. Location

A sheltered space away from the main activity in the landscape makes an ideal location for a secret garden. Perhaps you already have a favorite place in the garden that can be converted into a private space. Ideal locations are often found beneath a canopy of trees, in a private side yard or tucked along a brick wall or fence.

Design Your Secret Garden

2. Privacy

Secret gardens are isolated from the main landscape through creative use of plants and hardscape. For privacy, strive to enclose three sides of the garden and limit sight lines into the surrounding landscape. This can be accomplished by planting tall shrubs and grasses, or clumps of bamboo along the periphery of the garden. Existing walls and fences can make up part of the enclosure, while arbors and trellises supporting lush vines can enclose exposed spaces.

Design Your Secret Garden

3. Make an Entrance

A thoughtful entryway can provide a visual transition to match the change in mood as you enter your retreat. A narrow entry helps enhance the sense of enclosure and isolation while limiting sight lines. Arbors and arches make excellent doorways, but even a small, curved side path leading away from the main garden can suffice.

Design Your Secret Garden

4. Serenity

How can you transform a garden into a tranquil retreat? Entice the senses. Incorporate a trickling fountain, wind chimes or bird feeders to enhance the soundscape. Consider planting fragrant bloomers such as ScentAmazing™ Gardenia or Sugar Cookie™ Viburnum. And keep the space easy on the eyes. Use a simple color pallet and fine textured plants like ‘Soft Caress’ Mahonia for visual harmony.

Design Your Secret Garden

5. Managing Flow

Maintain good circulation in small spaces by planning for movement through the garden. Place furniture off-center to create a pathway along the opposite edge. Limit the number of access points to a secret garden to maximize enclosure and restrict movement to established pathways.

Match the finishing touches to your idea of relaxation. Perhaps you include a cozy reading chair or small tea table. Maybe you need a flat space for yoga and meditation. The space should reflect your personality and practices.

How will you design your own secret garden?

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