secret garden landscaping bushy garden

Secret Garden Landscaping or How to Bring a Touch of Whimsical to Your Yard

Every gardener knows how important it is to have a secret oasis to go back to whenever you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or simply when you want to get away for a while. There’s always something magical about having a quiet place nobody knows about. Today we are going to learn some tips and tricks for a secret garden landscaping, but make sure it stays secret!

Secret Garden Landscaping Tips and Tricks

1. Choose a Sheltered Location

Naturally, a secret garden needs to be placed in a sheltered area. Keep it away from the main activities you are undergoing in your landscape. Think about the most isolated place in your garden, such as an area found beneath a canopy of trees, along with a brick wall/fence or even in a private side yard, if you happen to have any.

2. Ensure Privacy

Secret garden landscaping can’t miss its most important element, privacy. If you want to create some privacy for your secret garden, it’s time to use creativity for plants and hardscape. Ideally, you should enclose three sides of the garden, and then limit the sight lines into the surrounding areas. For this, you can use tall shrubs or grasses, or even bamboo set along the periphery of the garden. If you already have some existing walls and fences, make them a part of the enclosure.

3. Create a Fancy Entrance

Since your secret garden isn’t just another space with flowers and trees, the entrance to it needs to be special as well. Moreover, if you conceive an impressive entrance, you can help with the (visual) transition that helps you change your mood. A narrow entry is more suitable for keeping the special secret atmosphere, enhancing the feel of enclosure and isolation. Moreover, it limits the sight lines as well. For this, you can go for arbors and arches, but a curved side path can do just fine.

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4. Go Wild

Secret garden landscaping doesn’t really match a manicured look. It’s okay to let go a little when you are designing your secret retreat. Let plants grow a little wild and choose billowing grasses, flowering perennials, and some vines here and there. Don’t forget about native plants either, since they attract birds, bees, and butterflies.

5. Make Some Secret Walkways

If you want your secret garden not to get boring, you should create some secret walkways. Usually, people use leafy canopies just for the dining or lounging areas, but why not use them on walkways as well? Of course, it depends on how big your garden is and how bushy you trained your plants to be. This offers a sense of seclusion even if you’re away from any trees or fences.

6. Be Creative with the Landscape Lighting

If you know how to use it, creative landscape lighting can turn into the icing on the cake if you want to have an amazing secret garden. For this, you will need to use lights that are small and subdued. This helps you create a low, peaceful ambiance. Besides maintaining a certain mood in your space, the lights also help with highlighting certain areas where you need light: stairs, exits, or pathways.

7. Add Some Fragrance

A perfect secret garden landscaping is complete if you add some fragrance to it. Don’t be afraid to go for plants that have a strong smell when they bloom. Here you have a list of suggestions:

  • Lilacs;
  • Mignonettes;
  • Hyacinths;
  • Lily of the valley;
  • Sweet peas;
  • Dianthus;
  • Nicotiana;
  • Lavender;
  • Gardenias;
  • Magnolias;
  • Heliotropes;
  • Petunias;
  • Oriental lilies, etc.

However, it’s important not to overdo it. Some flowers can have a very strong smell that can become disturbing if you spend a lot of time in your secret garden. Whether you decide on planting lily of the valley or you want to learn how to grow lavender by yourself, don’t mix too many different fragrances. Also, consider the space you have available. The more enclosed the garden is, the stronger the smell.

secret garden landscaping lush secret garden

8. Create an Antique Feel

We all know the typical image of a secret garden, with a romantic feel to it. For this, you should choose some wrought iron furniture and focus on planting roses. However, not all kinds of roses are suitable for antique secret garden landscaping. Some options you can choose from are the Cecile Brunner, Zephirine Drouhin, or Heirloom Roses varieties.

9. Let Flowers Go to Seed

When fall comes, it’s a good idea to let some of the flowers go to seed. Besides offering a vintage aspect to your secret garden, they may also help the birds who are looking for seeds to feed themselves. This is important for their birds since they can’t find a lot of food when the temperatures drop. Moreover, the birds will make the garden look lively even long after summer is gone.

10. Add Some Water

If you love having wildlife in your secret garden, it’s a good idea to add a birdbath or a shallow pond. In this way, birds will have a cool retreat during hot summer months and they will visit your space much more often. However, if you decide to complete your secret garden landscaping with a pond, it’s important to know how to maintain it. This is a great opportunity to include some fish as well in the water.

11. Take Advantage of the Seasons

There is some seasonal magic you can unlock from nature every year. If you’re planning to have an amazing secret garden all year long, it’s a good idea to learn how to take advantage of natural cycles. In this sense, choose some plants that have a recurrent charm. A simple solution to this is to set up 1 – 2 containers to add seasonal color. Choose from tulips, daffodils, summer annuals, perennials, Mediterranean herbs, or small-scale Japanese maples, for instance.

secret garden landscaping rocky natural secret garden

12. Ensure a Good Circulation

If you’re setting up a small secret garden, it’s important to split the space wisely. Plan for the movement that will take place in your yard. For example, keep in mind that you should place the furniture off-center if you want to create a pathway all the way to the opposite edge. To maximize the enclosure and restrict the movement to the established alleys, limit the access points. You don’t need more than two main entries unless you have an extremely large space available.

13. Make It Personal

Secret garden landscaping is nothing without a personal touch. In this sense, it’s a good idea to add objects with meaning. Adding a thoughtful object will make the entire space feel more like your own. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an outstanding object, but something that is relevant to you, such as a rock you picked up on a special beach. You can go even further and add historical objects or ones that have a spiritual meaning, such as a statue. Regardless of the item you choose, it’s a good idea to partially hide it behind some garden beds to make it appear more mysterious.

14. Add Comfortable Furniture

The main idea of your secret retreat is to relax and reconnect with nature, right? To do so, you will need to install comfortable chair and benches in your garden. Wrought-iron furniture is perfect, especially if you want to add a vintage feel to it, as we said earlier, but remember to add some cushions as well. If you’re planning to have guests over, add a couch or more chairs. For those of you who love a wild look and feel, some hammocks are a great idea as well.

secret garden landscaping entrance

15. Consider a Roof Garden

Many people would like to enjoy a secret garden, but they think they don’t have enough space. A great solution to this is to create a roof garden. The first and foremost thing to do if you decide this is to make sure the roof is strong enough to support your weight, the furniture’s weight, or that of other guests. If you checked and it’s alright, surround the space with a wall. A trellis and a vine can be a good alternative to an actual wall, for instance.

Another useful tip is to spend some time in the area before you decide on your secret garden landscaping. In this way, you will notice when and where the sun falls, where to place some shade, etc.

16. Set Up a Roof

Instead of plants, it’s a good idea to use a pergola with a solid roof. This will help you create an extra room which you can enjoy all year round. Add vines, fairy lights, and don’t forget about the outdoor heating either. The outdoor heating option can be easily replaced with a fire bowl if you want a more personal feel.

 

Conclusion

Secret garden landscaping should have no secrets to you now. From hiding entrances, setting up wrought-iron furniture, to planting the right flowers and filling the air with enticing fragrances, there are plenty of ideas you can use to add a touch of whimsical to your yard. Regardless of which ones you choose, make sure that your space has a magical atmosphere to it.

Images source: depositphotos.com

Bonnie Enos

I spend my time in my garden trying to create the greatest outdoor space possible. My garden is my happy place and where you will always find me on a nice day. I take my experience and share it here for you to read!

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