DIY Home Garden


5 Tips to Create a Stunning and Relaxing Zen Garden

If you’re lucky enough to have a yard or some outdoor space, you’ll want to make the most of it all year round. A Zen garden is the perfect place to relax and unwind, so why not create a miniature landscape all of your own? With these top tips, you can start designing your new DIY project right away.

What is Zen, Anyways?

You know you admire the clean lines of Asian-inspired landscaping. But let’s take a really quick look at the principles behind the term Zen.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Zen, a noun, as follows:

1a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation
2 or zen a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort
When you use the term as an adjective to describe something, one Merriam-Webster explains it as the following:
Suggestive of the teachings or practice of Zen Buddhism.
In short, Zen is a calm frame of mind, achieved through introspection and meditation. Keep these definitions in mind as you plan this gardening project.

5 Steps to Creating Your Own Zen Garden

Consider these principles of Japanese garden design.

Tip 1 – Understand Zen garden philosophy

Learning more about the wonderful theory and philosophy of Zen gardens can help you to create a calming and meditative outdoor environment that will make relaxation beyond easy. Traditionally, these spaces use certain components to replicate natural landscapes. Consider white gravel representing the ocean waves or rocks as land islands. By understanding how each component contributes to the overall environment, you can gain the most benefits from the space.

Tip 2 – Be certain you like the style

Zen gardens are minimalistic in design, which many people associate with contemporary styles. If you love the sight of large, flowering plants and shrubs, a Zen garden may not be right for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy carefully pruned plants, hard landscaping, and an immaculately maintained space, a Japanese-inspired outdoor retreat could be just what you’re looking for.

Tip 3 – Have the time to dedicate to your Zen garden

Although Japanese-inspired gardens are minimalist, they do require a lot of work. Both creating and maintaining a Zen garden will take up a considerable amount of time and effort. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. Using a landscaping service is a great way to install a Zen garden quickly. What’s more – having a gardener or landscaper visit your property regularly will make it far easier to maintain the space and limit the amount of work you need to put into your project.

Tip 4 – Use color theory to design your garden

Many gardeners use color theory, or applying an understanding of the impact of colors, when creating an outdoor space. You can adopt this school of thought when designing a Zen garden, too. The cool, calming effect of blue and lavender makes them ideal in Zen gardens, for example. When you’re looking for plants for your Zen garden, however, do stick to species that are well-suited to the environment.

Gardeners frequently include the following elements to add color and texture in these spots:

  • Chinese lanterns
  • Moss
  • Ferns
  • Creeping Junipers
  • Yews
  • Evergreen azaleas
  • Japanese forest grass
  • Miniature pines
  • Bamboo

Tip 5 – Get the right equipment

If you’re a keen gardener, chances are you’ll already have the equipment you’ll need to get to work on your landscape project. If not, you’ll need to pick up some basic supplies, such as rocks, edging stones, white gravel, Japanese-inspired wooden rake, hoe, shovel, tape measure, landscape fabric, string, and stakes. Once you’ve got everything you need, you’re ready to start creating your new getaway.

The Bottom Line: Enjoy Relaxing in Your Zen Garden

Pulitzer prize winning American author Irene Virag perhaps best explained the mindset of peace that washes over so many gardeners, as follows:

Perhaps that is the zen of gardening—you become one with the plants, lost in the rhythm of the tasks at hand. -Irene Virag

The simplicity of the outdoors awaits you, waiting for your hands to mold it to your whim. What you make of it now is yours to decide.

Maybe you want an outdoor space in which to meditate, practice yoga or simply listen to the songbirds. Great!

Then a Zen garden can be the perfect addition to your property. You will create a space that’s dedicated to calmness, relaxation, and restoration. Thus, you can always ensure you have an oasis of tranquility to immerse yourself in.

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