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During these challenging times, we all are feeling the need for some sanctuary. Not to escape or shut out the world permanently, but to find time and a place to rest, reflect, recharge, and rejuvenate – so we can go back out and engage with the world with more energy, creativity and wisdom.  

A sanctuary is a place of refuge where we feel safe and can breathe. It can be inside or outside, small or large, private or public, a place where you can read, paint, garden or do nothing. Take a moment and imagine the sanctuary that would nurture you. What does it look like? How does it make you feel? Is there a way to make it happen – if not fully, partially?

How Does One Create Sanctuary?

At SFLA, we are all landscape architects and designers, so of course our sense of sanctuary is focused on the outdoor landscape. We may have our favorite chair or room, but we are drawn outdoors into a more natural environment to find peace and a sense of belonging – to remind ourselves that we are part of the natural world.

As we talked about how to create a sense of sanctuary, we came up with some ideas that you may want to consider as you think about creating your own sanctuary – and we would be happy to help you make it a reality.

We also invite you to post your ideas on our website at the end of this article and especially your pictures of what sanctuary means to you. Tag us on Instagram and Facebook using #sflasanctuary. We’re excited to see your ideas!

Danville Landscape: Old World Charming

Creating a Sanctuary in Your Landscape

Here are some of the elements of a landscape sanctuary that we came up with:

  • A sense of enclosure and privacy where we can separate from the outside world for a while. We use trees and tall shrubs, arbors and pergolas, fences and trellises to define outdoor “rooms” that feel comforting and personal.
  • And its opposite – a sense of expansiveness so it doesn’t feel too confining. We preserve and frame views with selective planting, layer plants of different heights and create focal points to draw the eye outward.
  • A palette for our senses. A landscape that activates our senses calls us into the present moment and gives our busy minds a rest. We design water features that provide the soothing sound of water falling on rocks, fire pits that magically hypnotize us when we stare into them, plantings of shrubs and flowers that draw our eyes and whose fragrance transports us to other times and places, and, of course, fruit and vegetable gardens where we can touch and taste right then and there.
  • A variety of ways to engage. We create small spaces with just a couple of chairs for a quiet cup of coffee and larger patios for outdoor dining with family and friends. We design meandering paths with flagstone or floating pavers to invite strolling and walking meditation.
  • An invitation to wildlife. We create landscapes with native plants that provide food and habitat for birds, butterflies, moths, and bees so they too can find sanctuary and we can be amazed by their beauty and their actions.

And you? What are some of the element in your sanctuary?

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Kalich - Boulder fountain, Japanese maple tree, native planting, stamped concrete

We’d love to hear from you!

We invite you to email us today whether you’re ready to get started, curious about the process or have general landscape questions.

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