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12 Garden Design Ideas to Lower Stress

Landscape designer and ‘Heaven Is a Garden’ author Jan Johnsen shares tips for creating a peaceful outdoor space. 

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Photo: All images courtesy of Jan Johnsen

Sanctuary, Simplicity And Delight

Jan Johnsen, landscape designer and author of Heaven Is a Garden: Designing Serene Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection says the goal of every garden she designs is sanctuary, simplicity and delight. "I call this the lure of the sheltered corner," she says. "I created this niche in a wall so that our backs are protected and we have a view looking out. The dwarf fountain grass atop the wall softens the look and the flowering Kousa dogwoods act as twin sentinels."

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Instant Relaxation

“This intimate corner called for a bench or something similar,” says the award-winning instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and Columbia University. “The property owner found this ‘pod’ and we put it in front of the evergreen arborvitae backdrop. Everyone loves sitting here—it’s instant relaxation.”

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Power Spot

Heaven is a Garden author Johnsen says every garden has a “power spot,” or the possibility of one. “It can be a high point or a shady nook,” she says. “Here we made a rustic stone walk up to an old apple tree. No one can resist a secret path!”

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Eastern View

Johnsen recommends placing a bench or hammock facing east for meditation and contemplation in the morning sun. “The ‘Neon Lights’ foamflowers that bloom in the spring like it, too,” she says.

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