Many people use the bottom of the garden to store tools and hide things they don’t want near the house. It is often a less visited, neglected part of the garden. So how about giving the bottom of your garden a makeover and making it a destination space? A tranquil space at the bottom of the garden is an excuse to wander down a path or tiptoe barefoot across a lawn, a chance to decompress in nature. Time outdoors enjoying nature is good for mental health and ideal for reinvigorating the senses when taking a break from working from home.
Part of the pleasure of reaching a destination is the journey there – this can be so much more than a straight stone path cut through a lawn. The nature of paths is that they connect one place to another. If your garden is a long oblong, consider introducing ‘rooms’ – a lawned area, a pond with a bench or an arbour. If your garden is on a slope, incorporate ‘landings’ – places to stop and pause.
A thoughtfully designed transitional space can really add to the effect of a journey, an archway with a climbing rose, a screen of scrambling ivy, a narrow shaded passageway – alluring glimpses of your destination ahead make it more tantalising. A meandering path with focal points or bordered with scented plants can provide interest and stimulation of the senses on the way. A curved decking path can look sensational. Millboard’s unique polymer resin construction does not rot, warp or split like natural wood, and it offers far superior slip resistance, even when wet, whatever the season.
A raised decking area at the bottom of your garden can enhance the feeling of arriving somewhere. Use a different colour border on your decking to really make a feature out of it and give the impression of it being an extra room.
If you have space, choose a variety of seating – breakfast at a table in the morning sunshine or read a book in a comfy chair at the end of the day. Maximise your options to help extend the time you spend outdoors.
If you’re going to sit outside, and particularly if you are dining, you will definitely need some shade from the sun and, shade can often shield a seating area from the cold wind too. Covered decking areas are very practical – a wraparound slatted design softened with climbing plants can be a bold, modern option. Go dark with decking to complete the look. Millboard’s Enhanced Grain decking in Burnt Cedar has sophisticated warm brown and black tones.
Pergolas are a timeless method of providing respite from the midday sun – any manner of plants can be used to climb up and across to provide shade. Choose from the zingy acid green of hops or a grapevine for a Mediterranean feel.
Sail shades and awnings are a cheerful and colourful shade option - combine with Weathered Oak decking in Driftwood shade for a tranquil holiday feel. Or if you prefer a painted look, without the bother of having to paint, take a look at Brushed Basalt, Millboard’s most authentic painted-wood-look decking board available. Add a bistro heater in the cooler months to extend the outdoor season.
Shade doubles up as privacy as well – a row of bamboo can also work really well and provides pleasant sound and movement in the wind. Some bamboos are more invasive that others – do take care to choose wisely and take precautions against it spreading too much.
The pandemic has shown us that our homes are a haven, and that the impression of space and enjoying ourselves outdoors is incredibly important. We have also taken pleasure out of optimising what space we have, and quite possibly the bottom of the garden will come last on that list for many! Yet it has so much potential – as a quiet space for contemplation, a place to escape to, but also a space in which to focus on friends and family and enjoy the company of others. A place to just be.