a woman reading a magazine in a garden.

The Scandinavian garden: creating the "hygge" look

Darius Negahbani Darius Negahbani Wednesday 12th April, 2017

Chances are you’ve heard of hygge. It’s the Danish super trend that’s taking the rest of the world by storm. Pronounced ‘hue gah’, it’s a traditional concept that focuses on cosiness along with an appreciation for life’s small blessings and the relishing of pleasure-filled moments. But for different people, hygge means slightly different things. For some, it’s enjoying a creamy hot chocolate while listening to the radio as the rain pours down outside your window. Others find their slice of hygge in a relaxed winter’s evening with friends, feasting on delicious food. Whatever way you wish to embrace hygge, the most important thing is to focus on a relaxed mindset and indulge in an enjoyable activity.

But hygge isn’t just about enjoying time indoors. If you want to introduce the concept to your garden this winter here are a few key ideas to achieve a hygge garden design.

Keep warm

Just because temperatures are plummeting, that’s no reason to spend all day indoors. Instead, get a healthy dose of fresh air and invest in a fire pit or fire bowl to give your garden’s seating area a warming focal point, as well as somewhere to toast marshmallows or even bake potatoes the old-fashioned way. If you’d like the heat without the fire, try overhead outdoor heaters. It wouldn’t be hygge without getting as cosy as possible, so pile your seating area high with super soft blankets and cushions.

Pay attention to detail

A significant part of the hygge philosophy is taking pleasure in the little things that might usually pass you by. Wildlife feeders are a good way to translate this into your garden. Filled with suitable snacks, a strategically placed bird box or squirrel feeder can attract local creatures to your outdoor space, providing daily moments of joyful watching.

Invest in daily maintenance

A sense of peace and serenity can only really be achieved when there’s a little order to your environment. That means making the commitment to regularly tidy your garden, weed your beds and maintain fences and gates – even when the weather is at its harshest. Clutter has no place in a hygge garden, so clear out any unwanted items and find a way to disguise eyesores such as wheelie bins and water butts. You can do this by adding new textures to the space to detract from unsightly areas – bamboo screens can conceal unattractive areas and pretty pebbles can do wonders when it comes to lifting the overall ambiance.

Plant for year-round colour and scent

In order to get that hygge feeling of finding pleasure in the everyday, your garden needs to look and smell good and in the garden it’s easy to introduce wonderful smells, even in winter. Try winter-flowering honeysuckle for sweetness or winter jasmine for a heavily perfumed aroma. Woody herbs such as lavender and rosemary hold their distinctive scent throughout the winter – cut bunches of them, give them a quick rustle between your hands to release the scent and position them strategically around your seating area.

Let there be light

For the indoor version of hygge you need plenty of twinkling candles. However, when you move things outdoors candles can be a temperamental choice. Instead, adorn your garden with fairy lights and lanterns. Light lends such warmth to a winter garden that it’s important not to be too restrained about where you punctuate the darkness. Chains of tiny lights can create more impact when they’re trailed through planters, wound around posts or woven through shrubbery, than when they are simply hung up at head height.

Establishing a hygge ambiance is about attitude as much as it is about placing the right objects in the right places. However, once you’ve got the idea, it’s a laidback, life-affirming and beautiful way to enjoy your Scandinavian-inspired garden.

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