The use of Nature-based Solutions (NBS), designed and implemented with participatory approaches, is rapidly increasing. Much use is being made of the Living Lab (LL) concept to co-create innovative NBS with stakeholders in a certain societal and environmental, real-life context. Most of the current research revolves around urban LLs, thus overlooking specificities of rural areas. Furthermore, the influence of the context itself on co-creation processes is insufficiently recognised, leaving challenges associated with co-creation such as stakeholder engagement unresolved. By exploring the co-creation processes in the LLs of the OPERANDUM project, this study identifies eighteen contextual factors shaping the co-creation processes of NBS within rural territories and provides associated recommendations. In addition, based on lessons learnt in the OPERANDUM project, we discuss the value of a relational place-based approach in LLs, suggesting that the co-creation process should be approached as a dynamic confluence of many interconnected contextual factors. We conclude that acknowledging the interconnections in co-creation in the real-life context of rural territories may increase the success and impact of the LL approach, and ultimately, the benefits of NBS.