Getting out of bed on January 2nd is like stepping into a deep puddle of brown slush that seeps into your boots. The holidays are usually centered on others: buying presents, attending and hosting social engagements, keeping kids busy who are out of school for end-of-year break, cooking for masses...
January brings all that to a screeching halt. In the absence of all the craze, well-meaning New Year’s resolution pressure puts all that expectation squarely on your shoulders. Post-holiday weight gain guilt is fueled by gym membership ads that seem to run on a loop all month long. Plans to learn a new language or change careers are not only lofty but also a great way to start the year feeling ineffective.
It is known as the Contrast Effect:
A jam-packed agenda full of food and drink, followed right after by the sinking feeling of the blank, open calendar staring back at you. We perceive the landscape as bleaker than it really is. And speaking of a bleak landscape, how about creating a project for your garden? Nothing is better to combat a bleak outlook than to have something to look forward to that is full of color and textures.
Take advantage of the rhythm of the time. Take a short walk outside. Shake the snow off your outdoor furniture, wrap up in a cozy blanket and have a cup of tea in the backyard. Envision the outdoor oasis of your dreams, then make it come true.
If knowing where to start is daunting, there are many resources to help you plan your garden. There are options of free as well as paid-for software to help you pull the project together (see suggestions below). You’ll be able to project forward to the spring and feel renewed excitement as you pick plants, furniture and accessories. You’ll be ready when the Spring comes (and it will come!)
- Gardening Basics for Dummies by Steven A. Frowine, The National Gardening Association
- Paul Bangay’s Garden Design Handbook by Paul Bangay
- The Essential Garden Design Workbook by Rosemary Alexander and Rachel Myers
- Marshalls Garden Visualizer
- Shoot Garden Planner
- Better Homes and Garden Design Tool
- Idea Spectrum
- Landscape Deck and Patio by Punch!
- HGTV Ultimate Home Design