Zen Garden

Between a busy office, bumper-to-bumper traffic and endless errands, you might not have too many moments of inner peace these days.

All of that can change — and change easily — with the addition of a Zen garden to your home.

Zen gardens got their start in Japan, where people still rely on them as a space for quiet, distraction-free thought.

zen garden
Image courtesy of Eugenia.

You might look at the specs for a Zen garden and think that it’s not much to look at. However, this simple design is what frees your mind for contemplation. It’s also a great place to simply relax and get away from your everyday stresses.

So what are you waiting for? Find a plot of land in your backyard where it’s most quiet and start building your own secret garden today.

Outline Your Garden

Most Zen gardens take on a rectangular shape, although there’s no need to make yours entirely angular. Use wooden planks or a similar barrier to build the outline of your garden in order to keep all the contents of your garden inside (more on that later).

Landscapers suggest setting your garden up so there are about 3 to 4 inches of depth for you to fill. If you so choose, you can hide your straight borders with rocks or other natural objects so it appears to be a natural part of the landscape.

Zen garden
Image courtesy of David Denicolò.

Fill It Up

Once you’ve reinforced your garden outline — either by hammering it into the ground or lining it with larger rocks to keep it sturdy — it’s time to fill it up. You won’t be doing so with plants. Zen gardens are filled with small stones, pebbles or crushed-up rock, like granite.

You might be wondering how a garden full of rocks can be relaxing. All you need is a rake to make it a stress reliever. Simply take your rake and use it to make little ripples all across your garden. The motion and the effect are both soothing to your body and mind. Furthermore, its wavy appearance replicates the motion of water, which just so happens to be relaxing.

Finish It Off

Perhaps your garden feels complete with just its rocky filling; that’s perfectly fine. You might look at it, though, and think it needs a little sprucing up. There’s no harm in adding a few natural elements to up the relaxation ante of your Zen garden. Those before you have added larger rocks or benches on which to sit, mossy greens and plants, babbling water features or even a Japanese-style bridge to complete the look.

Add just enough to personalize and complete your space without overdoing it. Clutter around you won’t help you clear your mind, which is the reason for building a Zen garden in the first place. You’ll be able to tell when your set-up is perfect for you, and, once you strike that harmony, sit within it and enjoy its silent sound.

Feature image courtesy of Life of Pix

Read More:
Make Your Own Kokedama String Garden
Take Your Roots to New Heights: 9 Vertical Gardening Inspirations
Bring the Outdoors In: Make Your Apartment a Garden Sanctuary

By Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a writer and blogger with a passion for wellness and eco-friendly living. She has contributed to Earth911, Mother Earth News, The Huffington Post as well as other healthy and green living publications. Follow her on Google+ and Twitter to read all of her latest posts.