Create Your Own Secret Garden

secret garden

The Secret Garden was my favorite book growing up. I always dreamed of having my special garden sanctuary. A small, secluded garden, tucked into trees and shrubs with crumbling rock walls and an ancient rusted wrought iron gate, perhaps a garden within a garden. Splashing water from a fountain and chirping birds complete the scene.


Plants, Layout & Design

What is a secret garden? It’s a little spot tucked away in a private part of your yard. It’s a place where you’ll be able to retreat, to sit in the quietude of the summer evenings undisturbed by the hustle and bustle of daily life, much like Charleston and New Orleans enclaves that passer buyers peak through gates to glimpse.

You don’t need a lot of room for a secret garden; you can still leave the lawn open and still have flower beds in front of the house. Mostly, you’ll need a place where you can tuck a chair, a few plants, and, if possible, a fountain or bird bath.


Low-creeping plants, such as mazus or dwarf mondo grass, look great planted between flagstones. They frame your outdoor features in green. Climbing flowers also work, such as morning glories, honeysuckle, or sweet peas. Plant different varieties of ivy and creeping violets throughout, so that it will spill over rocks, walls, and garden furniture. Around the edges of your garden, plant some Lilies of the Valley for a little bloom and lots of texture.

How to Grow Moss in Your Secret Garden


Give your Secret Garden a sense of age and weight by growing moss on rocks, bricks or garden urns.

Stone Projects All of these are beginner projects, are simple, inexpensive, and creative…and best of all, you may have the stones right in your back yard!


The ideal Secret Carden should also have a winding stone or brick path guiding you through an arbor or gate. Create a simple stone path to enhance your yard and set a distinctive walkway. A gentle winding stepping stone path is easier to create than a full-blown walkway and lends charm and practicality to your yard. How To: Lay a Stone Path


Gates, Arbors & Pergolas

An arbor or pergola is a great way to frame and define your secret garden. There are many different plans from simple to elaborate, depending upon your carpentry skills and budget. Here are step by step Instructions.

Get inspired to make your arch or pergola a garden retreat with these photos of stunning outdoor spaces; Design Ideas for Arches and Pergolas.

Water Features

A water feature for your secret garden can be a small bird bath or a more elaborate concrete fountain. The idea is to have the soothing sound of water and chirping from the birds it attracts.


We love this rustic water feature cobbled together from large mixing bowls and a simple waterspout. My idea to turn it into a birdbath is to put screen one to two inches below water, seal with waterfall sealing spray, cover with river rocks. Hummingbirds and finches would love it.

A garden without a lovely fountain seems incomplete. Even if you plant the best flowers, put lots of beautiful flowerbeds, and add garden accessories, even then there would be something missing. If you can’t afford the luxury and expense of installing a permanent concrete outdoor fountain there are some effective, simple, and more inexpensive ways to add a water feature to your garden.

Furnishing and decorating your outdoor room

Treat your Secret Garden as an outdoor room. When decorating an outdoor space think of it as an interior room and apply the same decorating elements. First establish a focal point. For an example see this lovely old world patio that uses a small fountain as a focal point and adds simple dining furniture and a few urns to fill out the space.


Less can be more in a Secret Garden. Flea markets are a great way to score vintage garden furniture and planters.