Travel can teach us a thousand things about ourselves and the world around us. Not only do we learn what really matters when we see the world from a different angle, but we can also pick up on a range of healthy and happy habits that we’ll keep with us for the rest of our lives.
In our homes, too, those travel influences and lessons have a habit of making themselves known, be that through a tendency to remove your shoes at the door, or a desire to drape brightly coloured scarves and rugs all over your walls. Increasingly in recent years, Scandinavian and Indian influences have especially made their way into our four walls and with good reason – few cultures do interiors better.
But, with the often extreme temperatures of other countries and a typically more outdoor-centric lifestyle (especially in hot climates like Italy and Spain,) our interiors aren’t the only things that could benefit from a touch of travel. There are also a great many lessons that are worth incorporating in our outdoor spaces from other cultures and locations. But what exactly are those lessons, and how could you benefit from implementing them?
# 1 – Always provide shade
Whether you’re in Spain or Cyprus, you’ll notice one recurring theme in the gardens all around you – there will most likely be some form of shade on offer. Unlike the unreliable and often uneconomical plastic gazebos that we’re too often renowned for in the UK, residents in hotter climates will typically incorporate awnings, gazebos, or other shade options like these Shadeland Shade Sails to provide all-day shade in areas where heat would otherwise be way too unbearable. While it is true to say that these hotter locations have an increased need for additions like these, our summers are certainly hotting up enough to justify something like this so that we can increase garden usage for at least six months in a year. What’s more, with the option of shelter from the rain, too, there’s definitely a lot of benefits to be had from a decent, fixed shade solution.
# 2 – Pools needn’t be imposing
In the UK, garden pools are something of a rarity because they don’t often justify the space they take up. In locations like Spain, however, the vast majority of properties will have some kind of pool, even if that is just a dip pool down the corner of the house. As such, while you certainly won’t want to lose your lawn space for a pool that will inevitably spend half the year or more covered over, it may be worth finding a way to add a small pool into an unused corner, if only to be the one of your friends who can actually throw a pool party when the weather’s so hot that a cool dip is all anyone wants. Equally, this water-based garden focus could be all the inspiration you need to incorporate a jacuzzi, or even just a pond with an impressive water fountain, into a garden space that would otherwise be sadly lacking in elements of interest.
# 3 – Growing your own can be great
In hot overseas climates, it’s not unusual to see residents picking oranges, bananas, and even coconuts from trees in their gardens, and this highlights a lesson that we all need to be far more aware of – growing your own can be great. Whether you’re after a fresh treat on a hot day or are simply looking to reduce your food waste in a general sense, the ability to pick any fruit from your very own tree, bush, or other, is guaranteed to satisfy. Admittedly, it’s important to select fruits that grow naturally wherever you are, but pears, plums, apples, and even a wide range of berries can all add colour, and flavour to even a less heat-blessed outdoor space. Taking this benefit even further, the incorporation of vegetable beds can lead to all of the rich, tasty veg that you’re used to picking up at the farmer’s market while you’re away, and is guaranteed to see you creating some vacation-worthy salads that take you right back to sea, sun, and adventure no matter what the weather’s doing back home.
# 4 – Automation is usually best
Keeping a garden thriving and luscious is, logically, much harder in locations where hot weather and long periods of no rainfall are a standard. But, while it’s not unusual for UK residents to head outside with a watering can, this manual way of feeding the garden isn’t a sight you see all that often when you’re travelling. That’s because, in order to beat the sun and simplify matters at the same time, way more overseas gardens will have automated irrigation systems, or sprinkler setups, that ensures everything gets the water it needs when it needs it. Admittedly, we’ve had little need for this kind of setup in the past, when sunny days have often been interspersed with extended rainy periods, but previous years have seen us experiencing draughts like never before. In light of that, and to avoid the much-dreaded yellowing of grass that’s gone without water for way too long, there’s an increasing need for the simplified, guaranteed watering offered by automated, inbuilt systems that we can pre-program to take care of our gardens for us.
Gardening lessons might not be the first thing that comes to mind as you take Rome by storm or map your way around Malta, but they are yet another thing travel can teach you a great deal about. Just like siestas and outdoor dining, these lessons could each lead to a far happier you, and an outdoor space that you’re much more likely to spend time in. This, in itself, can have a significant calming effect on your outlook overall and should guarantee that you’re far better able to stay in a vacation headspace that helps you to keep the wanderlust at bay for at least a little longer between each trip.