Adding plants for texture, like fuzzy dusty miller (Senecio cineraria), or for movement, like ornamental grasses that sway in the slightest breeze, is another way to engage the senses and make you feel more connected to a garden.
Ground covers grown between flagstones (like the woolly thyme pictured here) can also engage the senses with a tangy herbal smell if crushed. The velvetylamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) planted on either side of the path seen here tempt one to bend down and touch the leaves.
Meaningful objects, like small garden statues passed down from a loved one, can also be effective when tucked into garden beds. When your eye falls on them, you may remember that special person.
Plant native species that act as host plants for pollinators or provide food for indigenous birds. Hang a birdhouse and put out a source of water, such as a birdbath or plant saucer filled with water. By setting up your garden to help support the creatures around you, you can — in a small way — be connected to a larger natural ecosystem.
Instead of wiping the slate clean, they opted to preserve the history of the site and turn the ruins into a walled garden space with a bocce court. The space has more meaning than if the owners had simply constructed new walls to enclose it.
Look for half-hidden areas that feel more private, such as a side yard, an area tucked alongside a garden shed or a partially concealed spot behind plants.
You don’t need a fancy or expensive fountain to bring water to your outdoor space. A simple design using a galvanized tank, a drilled stone or paver for the water to spill over, and an inexpensive fountain pump can create a lively recirculating fountain, as pictured here.