Join me!

Try Dopamine Gardening for a Feel-Good, Joyful Garden

Are you a victim of a suburban garden? A carpet of trimmed green grass, perfectly trimmed shrubs, and not a dandelion in sight? It’s time we take our gardens back into our own hands! Here’s how you can embrace dopamine gardening and turn your garden back into a joyful space.

flower garden with lavender for dopamine gardening

I’m not usually one for trends, but dopamine gardening is one I can get behind because it’s all about not following trends! I want as many gardeners as possible to try it out for themselves.

Gardens can be very personal spaces, reflecting the personality of the gardener who tends to them. If you look at my garden compared to the house next door, it’s going to look completely different.

In dopamine gardening, you plant what makes you happy and create a space that uniquely reflects you.

So! Here’s how you can let dopamine garden take the wheel and lead you through your backyard design.

This post will cover…

red zinnia flowers for dopamine gardening
Zinnia flowers are an easy to grow flower from seed to fill your garden with colour.

What is Dopamine Gardening?

Dopamine gardening stems from the trend of dopamine decor. In dopamine decor, you ignore trends and instead decorate your house with items that make you happy. The space often ends up colourful and depicts many elements of your personality.

It’s the same thing with dopamine gardening! In a dopamine garden, you’re filling it with plants and decor that make you feel good. It ignores the idea that you need freshly cut grass to appease the neighbours or perfectly trimmed bushes.

Why not create a wildflower haven in your front yard instead? Or grow mountains of vegetables? Perhaps you love the idea of a rock garden instead. You can create a garden by filling it with whatever you like.

I know it can be hard to ignore the social norms of what a yard is expected to look like, but when you do, you create a space for yourself you want to spend way more time in.

Kale and Herbs in the sky
Out of the norm plants, like kale, can become a focal point if you want them to be!

Gardening for Mental Health

It’s funny that we call it dopamine gardening because it’s not lying one bit. It’s scientifically proven that being outside and in the garden can greatly boost our mental health.

For those of you who know my story, you know that I became severely disabled overnight. Suddenly I could barely get out of bed and had to stop working. My world completely changed in a matter of days.

The thing that really saved me was the garden. I started with just five minutes a day, and it slowly got my body and my mind moving once again. To this day, just five minutes outside in my yard can keep me from feeling blue.

Horticultural therapy is a form of therapy practice that uses gardening and plant-based activities to boost mental health. Studies have shown that those who engage in horticultural therapy can lessen the severity of depression.

It’s also incredibly helpful for those with anxiety—the more greenery in our lives, the less depression, stress, and anxiety is present.

Stephanie in her dopamine garden
Garden therapy started as a way for me to share my journey and connect with other gardeners.

Types of Dopamine Gardens

When I was selling my house, the realtor told me that I might want to clean up my garden to make it look more appealing to potential buyers. She didn’t like that I had left piles of mulch and leaf debris in my yard.

My garden was a curated, wild space. I purposefully leave behind the leaves, as they naturally would, to feed the soil and help local wildlife. So I told her no!

People will say that you want to blend in or make sure your house and its yard maintain its resale value. While it’s good to look out for your future self, if you only think about what others want, you may as well be renting a space.

I mean just look how happy my garden looked!

Privacy screen trellis in dopamine garden
My privacy screen became a major feature in the garden.

If you want some inspiration, there are many different types of gardens out there that focus on feeling good in your space. Here are some garden design ideas to get the juices flowing.

Sanctuary Gardens

Sanctuary gardens embrace the idea that gardens are therapeutic spaces. They’re spaces where you feel like you’ve been transported elsewhere when you step into them. It’s a space for you to relax and find a little bit of rejuvenation.

Learn how I turned a corner of my garden into a special space for myself in my guide to sanctuary gardens.

dopamine gardening sanctuary space with bench and plants in wooden fence corner
Even just a corner of the garden is all you need for a little sanctuary.

Circles in Garden Design

Did you know that circles instinctively inspire joy? Think of hula hoops, Ferris wheels, bouncy balls, or balloons. It translates to the garden, too; from the shape of alliums to herb spirals, there are many ways you can incorporate circular designs into your gardening space.

Get more ideas on adding circles to your garden in this design guide.

pathway surrounded by plants and trees leading to a moon gate
Moon gates are one of the coolest ways to add a circular shape outside.

Meditation Gardens

Mediation gardens are spaces designed exclusively to meditate in. If you find yourself stressed or overwhelmed, taking a few moments a day to meditate can help to clear your mind.

Meditating outside gives you double the benefits, thanks to all the mental health benefits of being outside.

For ideas on what plants and items to fill a meditation garden with, check out this post.

Japanese garden with lots of greenery, small pond, and white calla lilies
Japanese inspired gardens are amazing spaces to encourage meditation.

Moon Gardens

Moon gardens are magical spaces. They’re designed to be enjoyed at night, filled with white and light-coloured flowers that either only come out at night or reflect the moonlight well. The result is mysterious yet serene spaces that are wonderful for all night owls and entertainers out there.

Here’s how you can make a moon garden in your yard.

light fountain in dopamine garden at night
Some ambient lighting can be added to a moon garden.

Adorable Dopamine Garden Decor Ideas

Beyond the plants and the design, you can add some garden decor and art to your space to inject some of your personality into the space. Here are a few of my favourite DIY projects and some decor items that I personally love.

DIY Projects

beaded suncatcher in front of a window to protect birds
A beaded wind chime to help the birds.

Decor Items

White macrame hammock chair with a green pillow in a backyard
My hammock chair is a favourite spot for Kiddo and I to use.

Remember, when it comes to dopamine gardening, you’re creating a space just for you. Take some inspiration from this post, spin it on its head, and turn your garden into your new favourite space. Have fun!

Try These Garden Decor Ideas!


  1. Hi, Stephanie Rose!
    I ran across your article. I enjoyed it! Your solar fairy garden light is a lovely change using the the chandelier crystals!
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. I like your ideas and will keep some in mind. We have a front yard that has a garden area and grass which was planted in gravel I think, so it’s become less grassy every year. I’ve thought of putting big planters on the lawn since so we could have more flowers and veggies growing. I think the splash of colour and having fresh produce would be great.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


your garden!

This FREE 5-day mini course will help you set up a thriving garden for wellness and joy quickly and easily.

I want the free course!

Join one of my free email courses!

Natural skincare

made easy!

This FREE 5-day mini course will teach you the small changes you can make to your skincare practices that will make a HUGE difference in how you feel.

I want the free course!


your garden!

This FREE 5-day mini course will help you set up a thriving garden for wellness and joy, quickly and easily.

I want the free course!

Learn and Live
with Nature


Garden Therapy Online Courses