There are people who don’t like spending too much time on their garden: throw a few plants here and there, maybe some low-maintenance bushes and we’re done. However, if you want to make sure your garden looks the part, you can choose from a variety of designs, from contemporary and modern to stone and Zen gardens. Creating and maintaining a Zen garden can be difficult – but we’re here to help you do that and create a perfect little haven in which you can relax your mind and spirit.
Determine the space
The first thing you’ll need to do is consider the size of your garden and how much of its space you will dedicate to a rock garden. It can be huge, taking away space the size of a pool, or if you have a smaller garden, you can incorporate a rock garden on a simple table top as a centerpiece.
In an authentic karesansui, or Zen garden, sand plays a crucial role. To keep this tradition alive in your own Zen-inspired garden, add sand to your pool or centerpiece table. Your sand garden can contain river rocks, gravel and even grass, but they typically don’t have any plants. For this reason, it’s known as a dry garden. Create curving strokes with a gravel to represent water ripples. Use your creativity in creating those ripples. Use a number of patterns in doing that.
There’s some real meaning behind how you place your rocks, but if you’re simply going for a Japanese influence, arrange them however it pleases you aesthetically. Once you have your rocks and sand in place, with a rake in hand, gently pull straight lines, waves and circles through your sand and wait for the relaxation to begin. Use this time for quiet reflection.
Water is an important element of the Zen garden, so if you don’t have it, you’re missing out. There are numerous options for you, from tabletop fountains to a full-sized Koi pond or a waterfall. While you can spend a mountain of cash to have a pond and/or waterfall installed, you can opt for a more budget-friendly way and try to do it yourself.
When it comes to Zen gardens, lighting is one of the most essential things in setting the mood. If you’re not sure what you need, you can search online and find many lighting fixtures with a Japanese influence. Many of these lights evoke natural wick lanterns, with the benefits of running on electricity. These, or solar powered versions, are good for the area surrounding your seating area and walkways.
Moss gardens were one of the newer Zen gardens from the mid 14th century. They became a trend later because of negligence, believe it or not. Today, it’s a common plant found in Japanese-style gardens. It can be incorporated in small containers for a side or coffee table, or used in larger amounts for a striking effect.
Since moss is fairly easy to plant and maintain, and a Zen garden doesn’t require many plants or plants at all, you can use all the same garden equipment you’re already acquainted with. The only new thing you might need is a rake for creating those perfect waves and circles while relaxing in your garden.
It’s important to have a place to sit in your Zen garden and contemplate. Seating in a traditional Japanese style garden typically consists of artful, handcrafted wooden or stone (maybe even marble, if you’re feeling extra) benches. Like most things in Japan, there’s some meaning behind the designs. For your main gathering area, you may want to include some cushions for comfort.
As we’ve mentioned, Zen gardens don’t require many plants, but if you just want a Japanese-styled garden, there are many options for you. Choosing your Zen-style plants can go a long way toward establishing the Eastern look you’re going for. Aside from the basics, like moss and ferns, there are plenty of plants that will look gorgeous in your garden. Try adding a traditional Japanese maple tree, or water irises, bamboo, tree peonies etc. Also – don’t forget bonsai!
For a final touch, you can add Zen-like statues and figurines to your garden. Don’t overdo it with the Buddhas and Gongs, though. The key is to add just a few well-placed and tasteful additions. Zen style statues and figurines are often made from stone, but can also be carved wood or terra cotta. Jade is a little more expensive but definitely adds some Asian influence, too.
There are many ways in which you can design and personalize your garden and make it look Japanese-inspired. It’s fairly known that even minimalism derived from the ancient Zen Buddhism and its philosophy, so the same pattern could be repeated in your garden. With these tips, you will find peace in your mind whenever you’re surrounded by your beautiful garden.
Author: Helen Bradford