Nowadays, everyone is looking to add a little peace and quiet to their daily routine. If tranquility is key for your life, think about transforming your outdoor space into a relaxing zen garden. No matter the size of your current garden, or even balcony for that matter, any space can be used as your own personal escape if you have the right elements to set the mood.
First, try to segment a portion of your space in order to create a small rock or sand garden. Ever the traditional element, the arranging and re-arranging of smooth rocks or the patterned raking of sand is key to any great zen garden. If you’re able to, try to add a medium-sized boulder or two to add to the drama. Also, a stepping stone path that leads visitors in and out of your new garden, helping to minimize any damage caused by foot traffic while also ensuring a nice flow for strolling through the grounds. Incorporate a small foot bridge reminiscent of traditional Japanese architecture to add even more interest to your garden path.
One of the important things to remember about zen gardens is, that although it may seem that their purpose is to sedate and relax, they are actually best utilized when all the senses of its user are engaged. That being said, try to add an audio element to your space. This can range from a set of wooden wind chimes to a small bubbling fountain or even a nature sound machine if need be. These pieces will help to keep your ears just busy enough so that your mind can wander.
When it comes to plants, less is more. Try using a soft mossy ground covering for most of your space, centering your focus on a few beautiful lotus flowers or orchids—the simpler, the better. As for other visual elements, use some interesting home décor pieces to break up your garden, such as a small Buddha statue or a large terra cotta or stone pot. Don’t be afraid to personalize your space with items that you find comforting and relaxing, whatever they may be. And if you’re up to the challenge of maintenance, a small koi pond can be a great added feature.
Lighting is also important and can help most in setting the right zen mood. Soft paper latterns strung overhead or small simple candles placed randomly throughout will give you the calming effect you’re looking for. For seating, a simple teak bench will compliment your garden nicely. Add a few floor cushions in muted natural colors for when the occasional guests want to share in your newfound zen bliss.
Will your new ideal zen garden lead you down the road of enlightenment? Maybe not, but nonetheless it should still prove to be a great spot to enjoy some down time after a long, hectic day!