Can You Relax in Your Garden?

How much time do you spend doing this in your garden? Not much I’ll wager. I reckon I spend less than 2% of my time in the garden relaxing. We as gardeners are doomed to toil. I can’t sit still for more than two minutes together. Chances are I will see a weed that needs pulling, or see a gap that needs filling, or remember those seeds that need sowing. Can you ever enjoy your garden like a non-gardener would?

Anyone have any tips for how to relax in your garden more? Does anyone manage it? Or are you all busy bees like me with a bench that’s ‘just for show’.

44 Comments on “Can You Relax in Your Garden?

  1. The problem we have is that as soon as you sit down you’re assailed by the smell of cat shit, and then have to go on a quest to find it and remove it before you can enjoy the garden :(

  2. I usually take my breakfast outside on a nice day and spend half an hour sat with my tea and toast working out what needs to be done.

  3. The only time I relax in my garden is (occasionally) when I take a walk to the bottom with a glass of wine and look back and survey it (only after I’ve spent all day toiling). Like you, I normally only see imperfections that I MUST deal with immediately. But, I suppose, that is what makes us happy – toiling away rather than sitting with a book?

  4. I’m not great on relaxation either but like Alycia I try to drink my morning cuppa in the garden. Have a wander and see what’s going on or sit down and watch the birds and bugs buzzing around.

    I also find that I can truly relax when other people are with me. For example, if friends or relatives are visiting and we pop outside for a BBQ or relaxing glass or two.

    Emma, I know you’re angry but this is starting to become a little disturbing! I think I will have to lend you my dogs :)

    Love the blog by the way and looking forward to the next!


  5. Our garden was once a muddy hill and is now five levels – it’s four flights of stairs from the bottom to the bottom of the house and another flight up to the kitchen. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, makes gardening an interesting cardiovascular challenge ;)

    But at the same time, it’s also useful at hiding all the work that needs doing when I want to relax. We’ve got a table & chair set on the top level of the garden and looking straight out from that, I can’t see the bare bits or the weedlings on the levels below – just the tree line of the woods behind the house. I’d actually have to make an effort to look at the beds from there and a good book & a cool drink stops me wanting to make any effort whatsoever. :)

  6. Working in my garden IS relaxing for me. It takes my mind off any problems at work or otherwise, and it is the most stress-minimizing task I can imagine :-)

  7. I also got a bench so I could curl up and read a book in the garden, but I have the same bug! My most relaxing time in the garden is sitting drinking a glass of wine with my boyfriend in the evenings – twinkly nightlights hide the weeds and jobs ;-)

  8. I’m putting in a block patio with a little cafe table this summer to force myself to sit. But that means all that digging and work first :)

  9. Following my last comment and based on recent experience, by that I mean the two hours I just lost after falling asleep in the garden, I would say I can relax on the rare occasion when in the garden!


  10. I love to sit out at my picnic bench with a cuppa and a good book – but it doesn’t usually last for long as you can guarantee one of the boys will want something! But I do love to round my garden with my camera in hand taking lots of photos of our first ever garden.

    Love your blog.

  11. i have no problems whatsoever relaxing in the garden. just this afternoon i spent about 3 hours lounging on the grass. probably explains why nothing is as i want it!!!

  12. Sorry I can’t help you, I can’t even relax in my parents garden let alone mine. Last time I sat round there I asked for some gardening equipment so I could help them with their garden for a min (an hour or so later I finished) – my parents aren’t even that old but I couldn’t control the need to garden!

  13. Relax…whats that? No I just love to potter when in the garden, if not in the garden then on the allotment! My bench with cushions is just for show too!

  14. I tend to take my allotment book along to my allotment and sit and read that between jobs, basically to get tips on my next job, or to get inspiration for my next job if I have nothing on the list.

  15. I resonate so well with this. I actually sit and “relax” in another part of the yard because I can’t stay still near the garden. “Doomed to toil,” indeed. Although, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  16. I take a radio to listen to and a phone to chat with my mom most nights after I’ve done some work in the garden.

  17. I can. I think the secret is to make sure you have a comfy place to sit, with a place for your cuppa. I like to dream about what I’d like to do in the garden later! Garden books are nice to take outside.

  18. Sitting under a shady tree watching the bees buzzing about – HEAVEN! But you are right, its hard to stay there for long! But isnt it lovely having a good potter in the garden. Amy – I want twinkly nightlights in my garden too! But my husband puts his moth trap on which illuminates our garden…and half of aylesbury too! But the moths appreciate our flowers at night, especially valerian and sweet williams. Its going to be too hot to do anything this afternoon in the garden, so you are going to HAVE to sit in the shade!

  19. I have absolutely no problem relaxing in my garden (which probably explains why it’s not so perfect). Invest in a hammock, that should help.

  20. What a wonderful assortment of answers!

    Isn’t it interesting to note the different personalities in the approach to gardening? Nature is never perfect, and that is what I find to be so utterly intriguing. No matter what I think the flowers SHOULD be doing, well, they do their own thing. I am consistently charmed by their beauty and quirkiness. And yes, what is that taking the camera into the garden? lol, I find I do the same thing. I have a balcony garden for the first time in 11 years. I can barely keep my eyes off the garden and I find I step onto the balcony at least 10 times per day. I find my relaxation in every moment spent in full attention on my tiny and fabulous garden. Watering, dead-heading… it is a form of meditation and my mind is clear of the normal clutter. Thank you, Garden!

  21. Our bench is definitely just for show… we have self seeded poppies growing up through from underneath it, and they’re so pretty none of us wants to spoil them by sitting on the bench… and hence the flowers!

  22. I can’t read a book as there’s too much else to watch; birds, plants growing, seeds popping up. I can sit and watch it all, as that’s the point of the garden to me.

  23. Just before you posted this blog, I was commenting that allotment gardening is 98% digging/weeding/manuring/mulching and 2% planting/seeding with 0% sitting to enjoy – but it’s only in the second season of reshaping an overgrown 90 foot plot. Next year though it may become 90%/8%/2% and I’ll be happy with that – the enjoyment comes with the effort and of course the lovely homegrown produce of fruits and vegetables and cut flowers!

  24. Looks like I am the black sheep here, as I spend far more time sitting in my garden with a glass of beer, planning what I want to do, than actually implementing any of these plans.

    Which is probably why only two of my vegetable beds are currently planted, while the other one is waiting for a big weed.

  25. My garden is actually my excuse for not having to lie baking in the sun!! We do a bit of gardening, then lounge a bit and take a dip in the pool, then do a bit more gardening and so on, throughout the day – which stops me dying of boredom cos I’m not one for just lounging in the sun, unlike my hubby. In the evenings we have a bbq, we have the radio out there and with a nice cold spritzer it’s just the two of us and our lovely yeah we can relax in it, but we do potter too. You have to make time to sit back and admire all your hardwork or there’s no point.

  26. Get some ex battery hens they just make it impossible to go into the garden without checking what they are doing. Their antics are so comical that you have sit with a cup of tea or a glass of wine. They provide entertainment, manure and eggs whay=t more could you ask for.
    Kay x

  27. Unlike Andrea I love lying in the sun in my backyard – and drifting off to sleep – you wake up feeling like an over ripe peach, all warm and fuzzy.

    I feel sorry for people who don’t have a private backyard – what is nicer in wintertime than taking your clothes off and feeling the warm sun shining through the cool air.

    I keep a foam mattress inside the back door, which I carry out and fling down in any good spot, and take a radio – there are a string of good programs on Saturday afternoons. Eyes shut is the best way not to be bothered by weeds etc

  28. I always thought summer evenings in the garden were invented for barbecues, and if you really must do something, it still gives you half an hour between lighting the charcoal and being ready to cook!

  29. I’m afraid I’m the world’s best potterer when it comes to my garden. Definitely don’t do any sitting down and relaxing – there’s always something to be done – even if it is staring hard at the onions willing them to swell just a little bit more!

  30. We had a garden that was quite overrun and has now been landscaped with a nice outside eating area. This is great at this time of year, early in the morning enjoying breakfast and listening to the birds. That is probably the most relaxing time for us. There is always plenty of jobs to be getting on with in the garden but it is nice to survey your progress as the sun is rising in the morning.

  31. As a family we try to eat dinner in the garden at least twice a week when the weather is good, chatting about what our son’s done at school and our current projects. With birds flitting around the feeders and birdtable, and bees in the flowerbed, it’s wonderfully relaxing.

  32. I have decided our overgrown courtyard garden is a ‘Wild Garden’. I can now look at explosive patches of growth and imply to guests they have been left that way to attract butterflies. The ivy climbing to heaven on three sides, is a treat for the birds etc. I have been relaxing in the garden ever since.

  33. The only time I ever manage it is if I invite friends over for a meal outside – otherwise there is always too much to do!

  34. Last night as I was crouching underneath the netting, weeding in the brassica patch I was reflecting what a joy It is to have the time to make a good job of your garden/allotment. I’ve had the plot for about 20 years now. It became a challenge to see how little attention could be devoted to it while still getting a return, and not getting thrown off by the local authority. Result: 50% or more potatoes, and when I did get to the plot it was a case of slash dash crash. Not much fun at all. Only recently (since starting my blog to be truthful) have I devoted more time to it, and increased the range of things I’m growing. Instead of one big plot I have 6 rotating “compartments” and try to restrict my efforts to one at a time instead of attacking everthing at once every visit. It also helps with the planning and the rotation. You could say I’ve got six “tiny plots”! In the process the labour has become a pleasure. As for “relaxing” I save lying down for when I’m in bed asleep.

  35. Wow everyone does ‘relaxation’ differently. I love that. Gardens and the way you enjoy them should be individual. Thanks for all the comments.

  36. I’ve always found the reflection of the sky in the water and the gentle trickle of a well-chosen water feature or garden fountain will draw my eye long enough for my cup of tea to go cold and for me to have completely forgotten what I was out in the garden for. That’s just fine by me, though – it probably had something to do with slug pellets.

  37. After doing some intensive weeding I always make time to sit down and observe my allotment. Weeding itself does actually help my mind relax. I just mentally switch-off. It’s nice to look at my land and say “I did that” over a flask of tea. Relaxing a bit reminds me of how much I love gardening and the reasons why I do it.

  38. Garden has a sense of “having soothing effects” and not simply a place for relaxation probably because of sounds such as moving water, rustling grasses and fragrances that you like.

  39. Of course you can relax in your garden, if it’s designed properly.
    Try to keep it simple and clean, filled with plants you find relaxing.

    In our garden we also have lots of candles, status and even a hot tub to unwind in after those extra stressful days at work.

  40. We all set out to build the garden of our dreams for pleasure and relaxation, especially with a view to when we get older and have more time. The problem is that we seem to spend every spare moment keeping it tidy and weed free and it is usually other people who get to relax in our garden, saying how lovely it is to be able to simply be able to sit and relax in a beautiful garden!

  41. The best way for a gardener to enjoy their garden is to build a garden room and leave the door open. I find I can enjoy the garden and all its wonderful sights and sounds without being drawn into the practicalities of its maintenance!