What is a garden for, if not relaxing on a warm summer's day? However, while nearly everyone loves to kick back with a good book or catch some rays, some gardens are more conducive to chilling out than others. To help you achieve your garden zen, we've selected the 15 best design tips and tricks for relaxing gardens, guaranteed to turn your outdoor area into a stress-free zone.
When designing a calming outdoor space, be aware of your colour palette. Garish colours stimulate the senses, so plump for more neutral or pastel tones to keep your garden serene. Of course, bright accents - a pink candy stripe, say, or coloured florals - will make a garden pop, but the key here is balance.
If you're serious about upping the chill factor, a water feature is an excellent option. The gentle murmur of water helps to establish a truly tranquil ambience that's great for clearing your mind. Choose natural materials such as stone and wood to emphasise harmony.
For a casual relaxation zone, invest in oversized floor cushions, a stylish alternative to traditional sun loungers. A simple stool makes for a cheap and effective side table for resting your pitcher of lemonade! Alternatively, a hammock strung between two trees is a timeless addition to any garden. Just be sure to fill with cushions and blankets for an indulgent and inviting finish.
Perhaps you desire a more traditional country feel? Vintage-style benches nestled between lavender bushes or other scented plants will instantly transport you to a less hectic era. Informal planting will help to establish a rustic atmosphere.
Design tips for a relaxing garden
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A floral-patterned gazebo is the stylish option if you want to capture the feel of a laid-back garden party, while draping muslin or other light fabric over bamboo poles will provide you with a more relaxed canopy that's perfect for when you crave some cool shade. A garden room can create a tranquil space that allows you to enjoy the outdoors, whatever the weather. Browse our pick of the best garden rooms.
Relaxed garden seating
One of the most important elements in creating a relaxed garden is comfy seating... so pile the cushions high and ensure plenty of throws are available for cooler evenings.
Large cushion and throw
Soothing garden water feature
Nothing is more relaxing than the gentle murmur of flowing water so be to sure to include a laid back water feature in your outdoor retreat. Use natural materials such as stone or wood for a harmonious feel.
Similar water feature
Comfortable and decorative garden floor cushions
Forget outdated recliners and opt instead for an outsize garden floor cushion upholstered in water-proof fabric. Perfect for full-stretch sprawling!
Calming pastel-hued breakfast terrace
Bright colours have a stimulating effect, so stick to a muted colour palette, such as the pastel cushions of this quiet little breakfast terrace, to retain a feeling of calm in your garden.
Relaxed country garden with vintage feel
Vintage furniture adds well-worn charm to a country-style garden. Combine with scented old-fashioned plants such as lavender to be transported to a distant and more gently paced era.
Romantic and relaxing garden retreat
Shutting out distractions is the key to unwinding and what better way to do that than with this romantic canopy? Secure bamboo spikes with twine and drape with floating muslin or cotton to create a perfect garden hideaway.
For similar fabric
For similar cushions
Informal potted plant display
Formal planting has no place in a relaxed garden space, so go wild with new ways of arranging plants. This pot staging is perfect for smaller terrace gardens and urban spaces.
Garden swing with integral planting
A garden, a good book, a glass of homemade lemonade and a fairytale swing - what better way to relax on a summer's day? We love how this design features two integral plant pots so you can grow climbers up the ropes.
Tranquil and shady garden dining area
There is nothing relaxing about blistering in the midday sun so ensure there are plenty of shaded retreats, such as this tranquil garden dining area, to help you keep your cool.
Parasol and bamboo stand
Country garden hammock
And for the ultimate in garden relaxation - the mighty hammock! It doesn't get more laid back than this white cotton version heaped with soft, plump cushions.
Morroccan-style relaxed seating area
Stripes, delicate florals and large paisleys combined in a punchy palette of cerise and coral create a garden seating area infused with Moroccan flavour.
Dreamy Arabian-style tent
For true escapism, erect a dreamy Arabian-style tent in the garden. Drape sheer muslin across four wooden poles and add a comfortable lounger to complete the effect.
Poolside seating for ultimate garden relaxation
Simple, easily portable seating in white and rasberry pink stripes give a jaunty feel to poolside relaxation. A rattan drinks caddy is the perfect accessory for transporting glasses to and fro.
Comfy pink garden hammock
Nothing conjures up lazy summer days quite like a garden hammock. Add cushions and throws for extra comfort and use a stool as a side table for drinks and snacks.
Floral gazebo for relaxing and entertaining
Evoking memories of traditional village fetes, a marquee will add character to a garden party. Here, a plain design has been customized with panels of boldly patterned fabric.
Let's go outside for relaxed summer drinks
What better way to relax on a sunny afternoon than a drinks party? Recreate the romance of summer evenings spent abroad with bistro tables shaded by parasols and nestled under overgrown trees.
Outdoor rugs will add a relaxed vibe while making it more comfortable underfoot for guests.
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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