Reconnecting with the Natural World
Take back your yard: it’s not about the neighbors anymore. It’s about creating a restorative outdoor retreat to find a little peace. There are countless studies about the connection between connecting to the natural world and mental health and performance. Spending time outside improves the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and attention disorders, and stimulates creativity and learning.
Some tips on creating an outdoor retreat:
Start by using some larger plants to hedge in a hidden “room” in your yard. Layer with plants that have fragrant leaves or flowers like lavender, bee balm, and agastache to add to the sensory experience. Add pavers or use high-traffic groundcovers like creeping thyme for the “floor”. Comfortable furniture, a fountain, and outdoor lighting can complete the space. Short on space? Even a balcony with a few potted plants can serve as an outdoor sanctuary. You don’t have to have a green thumb to take advantage of a beautiful outdoor space. Work with one of our designers to select plants that require little care so you can enjoy your time relaxing outside!
Step 2: Find ways to interact with the landscape.
Cut flower gardens are a good way to bring a little bit of nature inside with you while developing a relationship with plants as they change throughout the seasons. Even just the act of arranging flowers can lift spirits. New breeding has resulted in fresh, bold colors in yarrow, coneflowers, hollyhocks, and poppies. Keep an eye out for unexpected elements like unusual flower shapes, colorful leaves, seed heads, berries, and grasses to add to your arrangements.
If cutting flowers isn’t your thing, try growing food for yourself and your neighbors, or invite pollinators, birds, and other wildlife in with intentional plant choice and design. Even just sitting and observing the seasonal change happening in your yard can help you find a deeper connection with the natural world.
Positive Impact Gardens
Native plants and their cultivars also adapt to extreme weather patterns associated with climate change, like flooding from spring storms and summer heat and droughts, better than some of the traditional landscape specimen plants. But it’s not just about aesthetics, deep-rooted natives can help absorb and retain stormwater in the soil, and help purify the water pollution associated with runoff from intense storms.
Landscape impact doesn’t stop with the natural environment. Your planting choices can help feed the community. Try including edibles in existing landscaping, or devote a few pots or a raised bed to growing a little bit extra that can be donated to the Food Bank. Campbell’s is a Food Bank of Lincoln collection site for fresh garden produce, so be on the lookout for that program this summer.
Low Maintenance Landscapes
Some tips for low-maintenance landscapes:
Relax your standards. Healthy landscapes are ecosystems and that means bugs, leaf litter, and a few weeds. If something seems out of balance, stop in to our stores or ask an expert if it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
Design with low-maintenance in mind. Pick plants that have similar environmental needs to be planted as companions. Try using perennial groundcovers underneath showier plants to cut down on weeds and help water retention in the soils. Spacing plants close so they grow together as a community can also help maintain plant health and crowd out weeds.
Work with what you have. Sun? Shade? Soil? Water? These are all important considerations when designing landscapes. Working with these conditions is much easier than trying to fit a plant into a site that doesn’t meet its growing requirements. Proper identification of existing plants allows our staff to make appropriate maintenance recommendations, cutting down on unnecessary work. To learn more, stop by our Cultivating Ideas Seminar Series with landscape designer Ryan Stewart as he talks about pruning and maintenance.