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The Atmospheric Garden

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All five senses can be stimulated in a garden - you can relax as you watch and listen to bees buzzing around heavily scented honeysuckle, while lying on soft grass, munching a home-grown apple. Paying attention to the sensory effects of your garden will bring rich rewards, so try some of the following:

Water

For many people, the key to relaxation is water - be it the sound of crashing waves or a long hot soak in the bath - so bring water into your garden with a pond. It does not have to be a big lake; you can start small by making a mini water feature in a container on your patio.

Light

A garden at night is a special place, often unrecognizable from its daytime guise. Many different animals and insects come out in the evening and the cool air is often filled with the scents of different flowers that have opened during the day. Lighting your garden by night will help you make the most of it - allowing you to see it an entirely different way and making it a warm and welcoming place for evening entertaining.

But this does not mean you should call in the electrician immediately. Give the latest in solar-powered lighting a try - solar globe lights will give up to 20 hours of light when fully charged, switch on automatically at dusk, and best of all can even be used floating in your pond. Or consider soft lighting from candles and oil burners. Large garden flares can last for many hours and many candles have the added bonus of deterring insects with the addition of citronella oil. Look, too, for recycled glass lanterns or put tea lights in old glasses and position these around your garden. Don't just concentrate on your patio - the rest of your garden can look wonderful with lights dotted around, too.

Scent

Choosing your plants carefully can help make your garden more than just a visual experience. Plant according to scent, especially in areas where you are likely to brush past plants, such as raised beds abutting a path. Herbs grown near a kitchen or by your outdoor dinning table will arouse the taste buds with their scent and a summer's day will be that much sweeter with the smell of jasmine, sweet William and phlox filling the air. Look out too for plants that release their scent in the evening, such as tobacco plants.

Sound

Encouraging wildlife into your garden will provide you with the perfect soundtrack to relax to - birds, bees, frogs and grasshoppers all contribute to a soothing garden symphony. But you can add your own sounds with running water in your pond and wind chimes made out of old wood. Just sit back, close your eyes and unwind.

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