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Barn Gardens


By Leigh Ballard

Barn gardens are an attractive way to enhance your clients’ experience at your barn. If cheerful flowers and attractive plantings are the first thing to greet your client when they arrive, it sets the tone for a happy atmosphere. A well cared for facility indicates conscientiousness in care for your horses and people too.

In addition to creating a beautiful entrance, a barn garden might be used to create a sitting area where riders can relax and have conversation, cool off with a beverage, watch lessons, and the like. Appropriately planted flower gardens will attract butterflies or hummingbirds, strategically placed trees and shrubs can provide shade or wind protection, and seating provides a place for plenty of outdoor enjoyment as your riders or boarders relish their time at the barn away from the hustle and bustle of work or the city.

Barn gardens can create lasting memories for young students. It has long been recognized that aromas and fragrances can conjure up memories of times long past. Fragrant plants like mints or thyme which grow low and flat can be planted along paths where children lead their horses. As the plant is trod upon, it will release its pleasant fragrance. In adult life, your student will remember their childhood days at your barn when they first discovered their love of horses!

If a real garden seems like too much work, large containers of plants can simplify the landscaping chores but still provide beauty and atmosphere to the barn environment. Whether they are in the ground or in pots, remember, the plants are for looking good, not nibbling! Most horses won’t be attracted to the plants, but some inquisitive types may try to eat them. Never allow the horses to eat the ornamental plants, as many widely used and well known landscape plants and flowers can be toxic.

For more ideas about plantings to enhance your barn and horse property, see this article on Natural Horse Property in Trail Rider:

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