Growing your own food can be as rewarding as it is nourishing. Image credit: Landscape For Life

Design for Well-being

Your backyard should be a place of pleasure, not anxiety over that big lawn that needs mowing and shrubs that need pruning. Design your yard as a place for recreation and socializing, with a private space for rest and repose. Think low-maintenance beds of native perennials and playscapes for kids and adults.

Grow a food garden.

Produce your own organic, locally grown food at home. Start small by tucking some herbs and easy vegetables, such as lettuces and greens, in a flower bed. Tomatoes and peppers can be grown in containers; plant blackberries as shrubs and use strawberries as a groundcover.

Make room for sports and other physical activity.

Lack of physical activity leads to obesity and other ailments, such as diabetes and heart disease. Moderate exercise decreases the incidence of these diseases and improves mental health by reducing stress. Tempt your children to go outside with sandboxes, swings and playhouses in the backyard and leave space for a game of Frisbee, volleyball or croquet for adults.

Create a garden sanctuary.

Life is hectic and gardens provide a place to be unplugged and unwired. The sound of rustling grasses or the fragrance of a flower can bring peace of mind. When you design your garden, think of a quiet, private, enclosed place — even in a busy backyard. Include a small water feature to provide the restful sounds of flowing water.

Gardening is good exercise.

Turning your compost pile works out the upper body. Raking and mulching trains your upper arms, shoulders, chest and back, while squatting or bending over to pull weeds by hand is good for your thighs and glutes. And you can get your heart pumping by mowing your lawn with a push mower. The Center for Disease Control says that gardening can burn an average of 300 calories per hour.

Make space for socializing.

Many studies show that social connectedness is good for your health. Plan your landscape to include a convenient patio or deck for outside cooking and dining, whether it’s for a crowd or just for your family. Create a conversation nook where you can gather friends al fresco.