This month, shift your focus to air movement within your therapeutic garden. Perception is reality; with air movement create the perception of a cooler, outdoor oasis – despite these hot, muggy August days.
Air movement, both through the sensation of touch and surrounding visual cues, creates the psychological perception of cooler weather. Seemingly more accommodating, comfortable temperatures ensure that your therapeutic garden will continue to be a destination for older adults and their guests through the height of summer.
Feeling a welcoming breeze on your face or arms signals to people’s brains that the temperature is cooler than it actually is. Air movement itself also helps to cut the effects of humidity, namely by spurring the evaporation of sweat, making a summertime outdoor experience more enjoyable. In addition, plants in general contribute to pulling humidity out of the air (by means of water evaporation), changing people’s perception of the temperature.
Visual cues such as swirling ceiling fans, the rustling of ornamental grasses, and the swaying of a tree’s canopy of leaves all signal to your garden’s guests that this space is an inviting, cool environment.
When adding elements to your garden, also keep air movement in mind. If adding a fence, install one that allows for airflow, such as a vertical slat fence. When adding plants to your garden, remember that less is sometimes more; avoid crowding your plants. A dense area of vegetation will discourage air movement.
With proper air movement throughout your space, you encourage continued use of your garden. This allows older adults to reap the physical well-being and psychological benefits of your therapeutic landscape garden, despite the heat of the summer.