The point of our gardens is to provide us with peace of mind and tranquillity in our hearth. That little green patch of safe heaven that we all love and cherish is crucial to our mental well-being in this modern, bustling world. Away from all the noise and stress, our gardens can help us in achieving inner peace. On that journey, they do need a bit of help from us as this is a joint endeavour.
Working on your green meditation centre can be seen as working on improving yourself along the way. There is no shortage of suggestions and ideas for you to have that relaxing oasis under your nose and, all it takes is to make that first step. Start small and with one step. This is always better than with none at all. In no time at all, you will see the improvements appear. Both on you and your garden.
1. Clear your surroundings.
Before you even start taking care of your Zen place, you should take a good look around. Porches, verandas, sheds, decks and garden walls need to be cleaned and any unnecessary items removed from them. Minimalism garden design here means to maximize your focus and divert it to your garden at the same time. Any garden furniture should be limited to essentials only and moved from the garden itself.
Apart from mats or a single chair, there really should be anything else there to distract from it. Cleaning unnecessary furniture and clutter is one thing, but you should also consider not using an excessive amount of colours and pain surrounding your garden. If you have a wooden fence or wall, a colourless treatment. If you must use colour at any cost, opt for white or shades of light green that would complement your garden and blend in.
There is a distinct difference between eastern and western pathways when it comes to garden design. Western designs use pathways to clearly define sectors in the garden as you move thru it. Patches are being separated by paths or the garden can be split in two. Eastern garden design focuses on the experience, where paths and walkways blend in and focus on being non-intrusive towards the garden. The aim here is to focus on wandering and exploring the garden itself and offering you a chance to drift away in your thoughts. When choosing the material for this, regular gravel is more than enough and is a good and lasting solution.
3. Incorporate water
Water as an element and the mere presence of water has been proven to have a calming effect. You can often see various running streams and bamboo with water flowing thru. From simple fountains or other garden accessories that utilize or can be around water, this item should appear in your Zen Garden design. To have the best experience any water elements should be put in a shade, or in parts of the garden that have the least amount of sun during the day. Regular treatment should become part of your routine when strolling around the garden to avoid anything that may disrupt your experience when meditating.
4. Rock and stone elements
Focus points can be easily made with these as a single rock placed in the middle of the garden, draws attention with ease. These represent anchor points that you can easily focus on when walking or sitting around your happy place. Such objects draw in and hold attention and energy, due to their natural materials and elements. You can opt for miniature sculptures made from these materials or miniature mountains as these can help you to visualize being on a field in front of a mountain or on the said mountain itself.
Imagine sitting beneath a tree, reading a favourite book and, then a soft wind rustles the leaves as they gently fall. As calming scents exudes from it, it is easy to drift away, thinking that you are in a forest. If some chirping birds land there or make a nest, then the picture is complete. Such a thing is possible and since we are on the topic of Zen gardens and eastern designs, choosing a Japanese maple tree is the perfect choice for this.
They are a prized and centrepiece of many Japanese gardens, ranging up to 20 feet and, they can come in all shapes and sizes. Modern horticulture technology has produced a variety of colours to choose from, so you can pick any that you find the most attractive. Remember, the goal here is to relax and drift away, so aim for the colour that resonates with you the most. These elegant, beautiful and oriental plants will surely help you in that quest.
6. Sand and rake
This can also be applied to the gravel, as mentioned above. Sand is one more natural element that gets overlooked in this garden redesign. Just walking on it barefoot is enough to calm you down and make you remember those found beach memories. Sand and gravel can also be decorated with rakes. They can simulate the waves and wind as you move them along the way and maybe zig-zag where you feel comfortable. As you sit on the sandy parts and focus on the wave patterns, with a bit of help, it's easy to transport to the beach while still being in the safety of your backyard garden.
7. Optional furniture
We don't mean to contradict ourselves, as we already mentioned that you should clear any clutter and unnecessary elements to avoid looking like a hoarder’s heaven. But, with that in mind, as with minimalism and rock design, one centrepiece is more than enough. If you use only one element, then you can build around that and make it a centrepiece for your green Zen design.
A hammock strung between two pillars is perfect for slouching in and lulling away to peace. Getting a book or headphones and letting yourself go while you enjoy the floating and swinging sensation is one of life little joys. You can also opt for a wider hammock made for two people so that you and your loved partner can enjoy this together. There are a few experiences that can match that relaxing sensation. If you prefer quiet and alone time while still wanting to be in your garden, then you can centre the design around a Sun Home.
These places, or similar focus on bathing you in sunlight, one of the most healing and healthy elements, while you enjoy peace in solitude. You can incorporate all the aforementioned design choices here. The Sun House can be built with simple wood, colourless treatments, and surrounded by plants and wines. They can grow around it as it becomes the centrepiece of your design with gravel and sand pathways towards it. While you are inside and enjoying yourself while focusing on the sunlight.
8. The grass carpet
We saved the best for last. While we mentioned that some of the sensations that you can feel by walking barefoot, there is still one that remains. The simple, clean and, well-maintained grass carped, sprawled around your garden is a thing of beauty. Moss or low growing ornamental and eastern grass types are easy to implement and offer their maximum in this design. There is no downside to an elegant and mono-green carpet in your garden, as it sets a neutral tone for the rest to shine. Soft and delicate, this is an element that can be implemented after all is done for nothing to impeach its growth.
One more thing that you can use here to further enrich your garden grass is flowers. But they need to be delicate and discreet. It is completely fine to have a speck of colour here and there but must not be distractive. The goal here is to enrich the garden with elements that will soothe you and make you gain focus. Not to overload your senses with different elements that all compete for your attention at the same time. Balancing these is key in both garden design and life itself.
9. A speck sound
Technology and Zen gardens may seem like they are on opposing ends, but in this case, you can subtly use just one element and not ruin the overall goal. Sound. Hidden and wireless Bluetooth speakers can help you to achieve Zen meditation with your favourite relaxing songs from woods, rivers, mountains, rainfall etc. There are loads of playlists and songs that can help you with meditating and relaxing so, it makes sense to bring them to your Zen Garden as well. All that is worth mentioning here is to keep it subtle and non-intrusive as this just needs to be a helping method and not a focal point as simple silence is also completely fine.
With all of the mentioned above, we hope this guide helped, even a little bit. Bit by bit is the way of building your inner peace and your Zen Garden as well. Don't think of this endeavour as a sprint but a marathon. Incorporating each part into the bigger picture, that's in your head, is a process, one that you can do for a bit each day. Trying some elements and testing them out is a completely valid methodology. Achieving inner peace is a process and, you may need more than one element and you may not achieve it on the first try.
But persistence and striving towards that goal is a worthwhile goal. Here you can always go back a step and try something new or to see how different options work when combined. It's important to not lose sight of your end goal, which is a green Zen oasis that refills your batteries to the brim. As you have something like that in your backyard there are no outside factors that can disbalance you. A green haven is a mighty arsenal in your quest for inner peace and mental health. One that we wish you all the best in achieving and having for a long time.