I have recently discussed how depression and anxiety can be alleviated by spending more time in the garden. Actively doing gardening work can improve your mood and the physical health benefits are also clear.
Ecotherapy is also on the rise. This is a practice where trained professionals support a group of people to engage in a structured outdoor activity. Ecotherapy does not require that you have your own outdoor space at home, so it’s perfect for those living in flats, or houses with a small yard, rather than a garden.
In order to bring the great outdoors indoors, some people dedicate a space within a room to the art of growing. Loft conversions are wonderful spaces, in which you can cultivate a mini interior garden, as they usually let in a lot of natural light, with the windows built into the roof structure.
Flats with larger windows — Georgian houses split into several dwellings, for example — can also make excellent frames for leafy greens that need tending to on a regular basis.
I will share some inspiration with you here to get you thinking creatively about how to bring gorgeous greenery into your indoor space — whether that’s a converted loft, flat living room, or cosy bedroom.
One way to add more plants to a smaller room is to utilise the ceiling space. If you hang your plants, rather than placing pots on the floor or tables, you will save valuable foot space. This is even more important for people who live in studio apartments or houseshares, where space is limited.
Hanging a small pot is a relatively straightforward DIY task. There are plenty of options here, but the starting point is to drill a hole in the ceiling for a hook to be positioned. Take a look at your local hardware shop for the right drill attachments and check online for some useful advice — Instructables is a great resource and has an article on how to hang a houseplant.
You can then use whatever material suits your space for actually hanging the plant. Rope, chains and even strong knitting wool all work excellently.
Placement is everything: remember that if you tend to your plants properly, they will grow! So if you’re looking to position a plant directly in front of a window because you believe it will be a perfect centrepiece for your view, take that into consideration.
If Drilling Isn’t Your Thing…
You can also make use of the structures already in place around your home to hang your plants with a little more ease. Velux window handles in a converted loft space work well. Curtain rails are also perfect for this use — they’re designed to have things hung from them, after all.
Keep It Simple
Tending to just one plant in a dedicated and meticulous fashion can be spiritually uplifting. And you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds on a bonsai tree to reap the benefits of a wonderful small plant.
Succulents can be absolutely tiny, but they require patient and repetitive work. Looking after plants gives us a sense of responsibility, no matter how small and delicate the plant. Some people may even find the simplicity of caring for just a handful of plants allows their mind to breathe a little, while they take a few moments out of their day to nurture their greenery.
Complement the Features of Your Room
If you have two sloping windows, like in the Pinterest image below showing a converted loft bathroom, consider placing a simple potted plant in front of each.
Minimalism as a way of life is all about doing more with less. The impact a minimal lifestyle can have on your mental health cannot be overstated. An easy way to remind yourself to live in this way is to design your home with simplicity in mind.
You Can Grow Food Indoors!
Doing this properly can require a lot of work, depending on what you want to grow, but with the right tools and mindset, you can grow a whole host of various edible plants at home — even if you live in a small flat.
Remember to set up correctly — you may need to position water-retaining dishes or trays underneath your plant pots and empty them regularly, for example.
Herbs and Spices Work Really Well
The pots for most herbs do not have to be very big, and maintenance is minimal. Herbs like mint, coriander, thyme and parsley are really easy to grow from small plants — even the grow-at-home pots you can buy at the supermarket make for great starters if you’re looking at creating a miniature herb garden at home.
Be careful of whiteflies, though — they seem to love mint plants in particular!
Pepper plants are notoriously weak outside in cooler climates, but when placed indoors they can really come to life and can be grown all year-round — especially spicy chilli varieties.
Pots don’t have to be more than 8 inches tall, and although they need a lot of sunlight to really prosper, making sure they sit in direct sunlight either from a dormer loft window — if you’re thinking of a converted loft garden — or indeed any window in your flat, will really help get them growing.
Eating food seasoned with your homegrown produce will make everything taste even better too!