Secret gardens are small gardens with a quiet place for contemplation. They can include shade, water features, benches, a variety of colors and textures, and perhaps an element of surprise.

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Secret Garden Design Elements

This is a secret garden. It’s a small garden with lots of surprises. And if you’ll watch, you’ll see this water jumping past me, and sometimes it will jump up and down. It’s meant to be a quiet place for contemplation, and yet some laughter and levity in life. So, that’s what these are for – to surprise you. That’s the nice part.

The arbors are to walk through. They give you some shade, but it’s more to give you a sense of a ceiling and a room that you’re in. They do this with all the different textures and types of plant material, and the water features. There are benches and places to sit and meditate.

They’re great gardens with lots of good shade and lots of colors that are toned down with warmer tones such as yellows that are soothing and quieting. That’s what happens in these secret gardens. They’re a great place to visit.

This feature story prepared with Jamie Hancock, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Shawnee County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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