All About Hygge Gardens and How to Create Them

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    You long for a backyard that instantly melts away stress and brings you peace and contentment after long, hard days full of responsibility, work, deadlines, and anxiety.

    It’s the dream to have a place located right outside your backdoor where you can go to unwind. Why should you have to spend thousands of dollars and go on vacation for a few days to find some stress-relief when you can just walk outside your own home? After all, stress doesn’t just happen once or twice a year.

    Enter hygge. This is a new concept where your landscape is created based on an atmosphere rather than specific elements or areas that serve one purpose. And the main goal is to give you this instant cozy, comfortable feeling from your space through multiple sensory angles and through its overall design concept. Let’s talk about the differences between hygge garden ideas and conventional garden plans and how you can get that hygge feeling in your own Kansas City landscape.

    6 Differences Between Hygge Garden Design And Conventional Garden Design  

    If you want your garden to ooze relaxation and coziness, embracing you after long days, then you may want to opt for a hygge garden.

    Pronounced “hoo-gah,” hygge is a Danish term defining a space as having ambiance and warmth. It’s the essence you feel when you’re in an inviting space, enjoying time and making memories with family and friends. A hygge space typically does this by using materials and plants that provide the absolute perfect mix of relaxation for you, as well as using all of the sensory elements to create a peaceful place.

    While you might look at a hygge space and a conventionally designed landscape and think the two are similar, they actually have quite a few differences.

    Here are the key ways you can tell whether a landscape is designed conventionally or using hygge principals so you can gain a better understanding of the attributes that distinguish a hygge garden from the rest.

    1. Atmosphere is a Priority  

    Where the atmosphere is concerned, you’ll find some subtle differences between hygge gardens and conventional gardens.

    A conventional garden is designed to be a functional and visually appealing space simultaneously. This way you can enjoy the look of your landscape while it also serves your entertainment or relaxation purposes. A conventional landscape can accent your home’s unique architecture or your personal style as well.

    A hygge garden, on the other hand, is all about creating an atmosphere and experience in your landscape. The design process from the start is taken from an experience-forward approach.

    The design is created with comfort, coziness, and the specific goal of connecting people as top priorities. It can still be visually appealing and accent your home architecture as well.  

    2. Design Elements Involve All of the Senses  

    There are many design elements that are part of a home landscape space.

    A conventional landscape design will include all types of spaces, but usually form into one to two multi-use spaces. These places don’t always include sounds or fragrance. They may also not always include entertainment or dining/cooking spaces. Accents in conventional landscapes can be broad or specific, depending on the client’s tastes and styles.

    In a hygge garden, sounds, fragrances, ambiance, and experience drive the landscape design planning.

    Sounds will include those that amplify relaxation, such as water flowing, fire crackling, and sound systems that can play soothing music. The goal is to soften unattractive nearby noises like traffic.

    Fragrance is brought into the space to encourage further chill time. Think flowers, herbs, and outdoor diffusers.

    And ambiance is always a part of a hygge landscape through fire features and landscape lighting.

    As far as experience is concerned, a hygge landscape will include places to prepare, serve, grow, and enjoy excellent food. They will also include entertainment places to connect with others whether it’s over games or s’mores. Spaces are strategically designed to maximize connection.

    A hygge landscape will even consider current and future pets.

    3. Plants Are Chosen For Their Ability to Evoke Emotion, Memory, and Aid Relaxation  

    In a conventional landscape, plants are chosen based on a client’s style, the landscape’s environmental conditions, and desired maintenance level the client wants. Plant palettes can be very diverse in these landscapes.

    But in a hygge garden, plants are chosen based on fond memories, such as a lilac bush that is similar to one that grew on your grandparents’ farm or plants with soft textures and fragrances. Plants are chosen to help create that calming environment full of privacy and intimacy.

    Patio Shade Kansas City

    4. Hardscapes Are Calming in Neutral Tones  

    Hardscapes in conventional landscapes based on your personal taste and your existing architecture. They can be manmade or natural with colors chosen based on your preferences, which can be bold or earthy.

    When hardscapes are part of a hygge garden design, they are chosen for their ability to bring natural, calming elements to your space. This means they are typically stone and wood with neutral colors, and your patio furniture will have soft, comfortable fabrics.

    5. Client Preparation is Based on Experience and Personal History  

    Even the client preparation for a hygge garden design differs from that of a conventional landscape design.

    With a conventional design, you’re after a nice space with a simplified process and end result. The investment can vary widely because at the low end you can have a very simple space for one intended use; you don’t need to maximize your space for multiple experiences.

    With a hygge-inspired space, you’re actually creating an atmosphere and experience for anyone enjoying your space. This usually means you have to have a more in-depth conversation and design process with your landscape designer to discuss intended uses and opportunities to create better experiences.

    The landscape is meant to have layers of experiences weaved in for intentional coziness using fragrance, sound, ambiance, food, and entertainment. This means hygge spaces a large investment because they have all of the sensory elements to consider in creating this relaxation.

    6. Hygge Gardens Are Not About ‘Things’  

    A conventional landscape may have a pool and a patio, and those are elements you want to include in your space – single purpose spaces for your favorite backyard activities.

    But this design process is based on “things.”

    A hygge garden design, on the other hand, will prioritize atmosphere and experience over just “things.” It’s about creating spaces you can spend time together enjoying. As Meik Wiking says in “The Little Book of Hygge, “It’s about being with people we love. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”

    Interested in Hygge Garden Design for Your Kansas City Home?   

    Stress is everywhere. We’re surrounded by it. And nature has been proven to be an amazing soothing mechanism for anxiety relief.

    A hygge garden design could be just what you need to turn your backyard into the sort of space that can bring those stress levels in check on a regular basis and give you a place to connect. Personal connection – not virtual connection – is something people are craving today as well, so having these outdoor entertainment and dining spaces can bring family and friends together for making these in person memories.

    A conventional landscape design is certainly something that can transform your yard, but a hygge-inspired space can take it up to that next level. If you want to surround yourself with a sensory experience that truly transports you to another place just by walking into it and taking a deep breath, smelling the sweet floral scents and hearing the trickling of a waterfall or the crackling of a fire and sinking into a comfortable chair, then a hygge garden could be for you.

    If you still can’t imagine what a hygge landscape could do for your garden or you can’t quite envision how the process works, don’t fret. Give High Prairie Outdoors’ experts a call. We are big fans of the hygge movement and love what it can do for Kansas City landscapes. We’d be happy to show you examples and find out how you relax, learning about ways hygge could create a unique and personalized stress-relieving space for you.

    Ready to see how High Prairie can transform your Kansas City home landscape with the hygge garden design concept? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a design that you will love because it melts your stress away daily.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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