Secret Garden Design Ideas: How To Create Your Own Secret Garden

Learn how to create your own secret garden with these secret garden design ideas that will turn your backyard into a relaxing retreat you won’t want to leave.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about being in Charleston, SC and all of the beautiful window boxes I saw, which I’m definitely planning to incorporate into my landscape design.

Secret Garden Design Ideas: How To Create Your Own Secret Garden

Secret Garden Design Ideas

The other thing I love about Charleston is the gardens. Many of the houses have fairly small yards but they still have the most beautiful gardens. Even from the street, they look so inviting you just want to go in and sit down.

I think it’s because they all feel like romantic secret garden rooms, gas-lit lanterns and all!

So when I created my backyard plan, I decided to use some of the Charleston secret garden design ideas to do my own version in my standard suburban yard.

Of course, I didn’t have the beautiful architecture or the old cobblestone walkways. But I still managed to get some of that secret garden room feeling.

Keep reading to find out how to create your own secret garden room even if you have a suburban yard.

1. Define An Entryway

Charleston wrought iron gate is the first one of the secret garden design ideas

The first element of a secret garden that all Charleston gardens seem to have is defined entry ways, usually with an arbor and a gate leading into them.

The arbor creates an entryway that looks and feels special.

The gate makes you notice that you’re entering (you actually have to stop to open it).

Wrought iron arbor over a backyard secret garden pathway

While not nearly as grand as the Charleston version, installing a standard garden arbor over your entry way still has the same appeal.

2. Create A Sense Of Privacy

Round wrought iron window looking into a private garden ©Heather Wissman - stock.adobe.com
©Heather Wissman – stock.adobe.com

The second of my secret garden design ideas is to create a sense of privacy.

In Charleston, you can often see into the garden but rarely get to see the whole thing. Often the gates or peephole windows have wrought iron details that obscure the view even more.

Lattice fence is a secret garden design idea for backyard decks

While wrought iron screens may be out of most people’s budgets (including mine!), you can accomplish a similar feel with any kind of divider that helps to obstruct the view.

A lattice fence that partially encloses an area works well (like my mother has on one side of her deck).

Plants and an umbrella over chairs create a secret gardenPlants can also create a great privacy screen.

Romantic curtains provide privacy for a secret garden table ©#moreideas | stock.adobe.com
©#moreideas – stock.adobe.com

For a less permanent option, hang some curtains to create a secret garden room.

3. Install Curved Paths

Gated alley entrance to secret garden with curved pathway. Charleston, South Carolina. ©Noel - stock.adobe.com
©Noel – stock.adobe.com

Another way Charleston gardens create the feeling of mystery that makes a secret garden successful is to install curved garden paths.

You can’t see exactly where it ends up…but it sure makes you want to find out!

4. Make Sure There’s Enough Shade

Seating in the shade
Seating in the shade

The next one of my backyard secret garden ideas prevents the one thing that can ruin that special romantic feeling really quickly…having the hot sun beating down on your garden room all afternoon.

If you are lucky enough to have trees providing shade for your seating area, you are ahead of the game. But if not, try to provide some man-made shade to keep your space cool and comfortable.

5. Provide a Destination

Private garden with brunch table ©#moreideas - stock.adobe.com
©#moreideas – stock.adobe.com

Although you don’t get to see the final destination of many of the Charleston garden paths, I can only imagine that it is somewhere worth going to. Which is why the next one of my secret garden design ideas is to provide a place to go to.

Relaxing seating on a secret garden deck

Whether that’s a beautiful table for lunch or a place to put your feet up, providing a pretty and relaxing seating area is a must for creating a garden room in your backyard.

6. Light It Up

Charleston arbor

Adding landscape lighting will make sure you get the most out of your backyard retreat. And make it even more romantic at night.

Even in the evening, Charleston gardens have charm and it’s all about the lighting.

Landscape lighting in a secret garden at night

I didn’t go so far as to invest in a gas lamp (although I would love to!), but landscape lighting can help any yard feel special at night.

7. Add Some Romance

Wrought iron gateway to Charleston secret garden ©balashark - stock.adobe.com
©balashark – stock.adobe.com

Finally, the last of my secret garden design ideas…a secret garden wouldn’t be a secret garden without some romantic touches (if you ask me).

In Charleston, it’s kind of built into the whole city…the architecture, the lanterns, the wrought iron, the cobblestones…you get the idea.

Outdoor brunch table under star shaped chandeliers in a gazebo ©#moreideas - stock.adobe.com
©#moreideas – stock.adobe.com

In our own yards, we probably have to put a little more work into creating a romantic environment. Whether it’s hanging outdoor chandeliers, using your crystal glasses outside or just lighting a few candles, the added touches are what will really make your secret garden feel special.

Hopefully, you’ve found some inspiration to create your own secret garden using these design ideas inspired by the secret garden masters in Charleston.

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