Happy Valentine’s Day! I know some people believe it’s the most romantic day of the year, and others just dismiss the holiday as a commercial ploy. I’m probably somewhere in the middle, and reckon that it’s a great opportunity to enjoy a little bit of extra love, but avoid spending money on gifts or anything. I’m a firm believer that Valentine’s Day can be shared with friends, or even taken as time for a little bit of self-care!
Anyway, as usual, we’re here to talk about gardens. So, today I’m going to be sharing some really cool and romantic garden ideas for Valentine’s Day – including ways to celebrate with a group of friends that you love, or to just enjoy your outdoor space solo.
Although, to be clear, I’m not necessarily saying these romantic garden ideas are February appropriate… It’s a bit chilly out, and there’s a pandemic happening after all!
Romantic Garden Features
You can do a lot with garden decor and planning some fun and romantic outdoor activities. However, there are also some garden layout and design features that will automatically make your space seem more romantic. If you want to feel like you’re always living in a fairy tale, check out our enchanted garden ideas and cottage garden ideas, too!
1. Fragrant Flowers
What’s more romantic than flowers? Well… How about flowers that have a beautiful, delicate perfume? Romance is about spoiling the senses, and adding a layer of gentle fragrance is an essential part of setting the scene.
Roses, of course are the classic symbol of romance – and there is a variety for every kind of garden. Potted rose shrubs look beautiful in symmetrical, formal gardens, while climbing roses are stunning across a trellis or archway in a cute cottage garden or traditional British-style garden.
There are other scented flowers that can create a relaxing atmosphere. Jasmine and honeysuckle can both be trained to climb and across a trellis or pergola, to then tumble down and create a breath-taking ceiling of foliage. If you like the idea of a patio dining area with a romantic ambience, these plants are my favourite.
Lavender is another great contender when it comes to romantic garden ideas. Their fragrance and oil has climbing properties, perfect for soothing the soul at the end of a long day. Plant a big pot of lavender near a seating area, or cut some fresh stems to decorate a table, or garnish a cocktail.
2. Intriguing garden layout
A romantic garden should be like poetry: you want to get lost in it, to meander through its meaning and find unexpectedly beautiful moments. There’s a time and a place to cut straight to the chase, and it’s not here!
Start your layout with a winding path that weaves slowly across your garden. When you’re looking at your space – or physically walking through it – this kind of path will make you slow down and soak up some more of the scenery.
There’s a concept in Japanese design called miegakure, which roughly means ‘hide and reveal’. In gardens, this is about allowing one area of the garden to be fully appreciated by obscuring other parts with an arch, a screen, or trees. The next section of the garden is then ‘revealed’ as you walk through, and the previous area is hidden from sight. This kind of design creates private, intimate spaces where you can forget about anything going on beyond your little section of space.
It might seem practical to have your patio next to the house, but traditional French garden design has different ideas. Instead of just getting the same view of your garden as you do from the kitchen window, in a French garden, the seating area is typically somewhere that gives you a completely different perspective. Not only does this help you appreciate your garden more, it can help you feel a bit more removed from everyday life.
3. Wonderful water features
Water features are another way to really inspire your senses and engage with all of your romantic garden ideas. The burble of a fountain or rill can muffle more everyday sounds (like traffic noise), and the reflection of light on the surface of a pond or water bowl adds serenity and dimension to your garden visuals. Plus, water can attract beautiful creatures like dragonflies to your space, connecting you with nature.
Romantic Garden Decor
When you’re happy with your garden layout, it’s time to add some additional touches to make it extra-inviting for a comfortable evening – whoever you’re with.
Whether you’re hoping to cuddle up to someone special, put your feet up solo, or host a gathering of people in your garden, it’s important to have somewhere comfy to sit.
For dining, you can’t go wrong with a simple bistro set. A small table-top means you can sit nice and close to whoever you’re with, and the slimline design won’t pull too much focus from the rest of your beautiful surroundings. Plus, bistro sets always remind me of Paris, Rome, or Barcelona… all of which are pretty romantic places to be!
Two-seater benches (or even better, swing seats) are another good way to stay physically close to someone while you enjoy your garden. They’re not always the most comfortable though, so make sure to bring a couple of cushions and a blanket!
When you’re entertaining several people, having a set of patio furniture that can be arranged to face each other is probably the best way to go. Several pieces of furniture – rather than one chunky corner sofa, for example – allows you to be more flexible in your configuration, so everyone can get a comfy spot. I do really like this corner couch made from reused pallets though!
2. Lanterns & Candlelight
The soft glow of candlesticks and tea lights is the perfect, intimate way to illuminate a relaxing outdoor evening. If there’s any breeze, try putting them in mason jars or lanterns for added ambience (and to save yourself from constantly relighting them).
3. Cosy fire pits
Of course, if candles are intimate, then fire pits are definitely on the list of romantic garden ideas for Valentine’s Day! The warmth and light from a fire pit can keep a gathering cosy even as dusk sets in. Plus, the way people naturally draw closer to stay near the flames means that you get to fully appreciate the company you’re in.
4. Delicate ambient lighting
If you are going to be using electric light, make sure it’s warm and gentle. Keep the wattage low, and avoid bulbs or LEDs that are cool-tinted (white or blue). Warm whites and pale yellows mimic candlelight better, and are easier on the eyes, reducing tension. Delicate lights like string lights and fairy lights are the best way to create a relaxed, informal atmosphere.
Romantic Garden Activities
What are the best ways to spend an evening outdoors? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
1. A candlelit dinner
Someone once told me that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, no duh! I think everyone has a soft spot for the right food at the right time. Whether you’re showing your friends or family some appreciation, or whipping up something delicious for just that one special someone, set a table up outside and grab the matches. Even if you’re choosing to have a nice evening alone, the small act of adding a candle or two goes a long way to make a dinner feel special.
2. Popping bottles
Humans have been socialised to connect the popping of corks with special occasions. This is the smallest detail ever, but if you’re trying to make a garden event that little bit more exciting, make sure there’s a bottle of something fizzy around somewhere.
3. A romantic photoshoot
After basically a year of being at home, it’s time to start treating anything remotely special as a holiday. Get the camera out and enjoy an afternoon of snapping some memorable photos, with your beautiful garden as the backdrop. Props encouraged – and don’t be afraid to look up some tips for posing if you don’t know where to begin. Most importantly, have fun with it!
4. Garden camping
We’re all desperate for a getaway, so maybe it’s time to make your own. Pack your bags and grab your tent – you’re going camping… at the bottom of your garden! Try to spend as much time as possible outside of your house by cooking outdoors, packing a cool box for drinks and stacking up the comfy bedding (toilet breaks allowed, of course). Take a look at our garden camping ideas for some themes!
When it comes to romantic garden ideas, this one is particularly perfect for getting away from noisy (and nosey) flatmates, and feeling like you’re in your own little bubble for a while. Although, be warned – if those noisy flatmates are actually your children, they’re probably going to want in on the fun! Of course, my tip would be to let them tucker themselves out, make sure they’re tucked in safe, and then tiptoe back to the house for an uninterrupted cuddle on the sofa!
There are lots of reasons to be looking for romantic garden ideas, and I hope whatever is motivating you goes well! Enjoy the atmosphere of having a beautiful outdoor space, with friends, on your own, or with someone you love.