Do you want to create a Zen garden but you have no idea how? Check out our tips for getting there.
Who has never dreamed of a place conducive to reverie and relaxation to escape the tumult of everyday life? Having a corner of paradise at home to relax and unwind is possible. And you don’t need to own a lot of land to create a relaxing place. Often confused with the Japanese garden, the Zen garden has everything to seduce lovers of relaxation. To meditate quietly after a day of work, nothing like this landscape art. But before taking full advantage of it, discover our advice for creating, fitting out and maintaining it according to the rules of the art.
What is a Zen Garden?
The Zen garden is a landscaping art that gives pride of place to the minimalist spirit and to minerals. In addition, the Zen garden is made only to be looked at, unlike the Japanese garden, where you can walk around. In other words, the Zen garden occupies a very small area. From a bench or a chair, this type of garden can be admired and allows moments of meditation and calm.
In a Zen garden, nothing is left to chance because visual harmony takes precedence. Its shape, for example, is carefully studied. Thus, it is usually rectangular if space permits. Often, there is also rock and sand sculpted in a circular fashion with a rake. The hand tool is there to remind the movements of water.
On the other hand, the garden stages fundamental elements such as the rhythm of the seasons, the feeling of the ephemeral and the cosmic order. This involves symbolism and landscape capture. And from a practical point of view, the Zen garden calls for miniaturization and meticulous work on the notion of scale.
Among the best-known Zen gardens, there is that of Ryōan-ji in Tokyo, Japan, which covers 200 m². It is a masterful example of this landscape art.
To know : the Zen garden finds its origin with the Buddhist monks who composed a mineral garden within the enclosure of the temple. And this, from the 16th century. It was already a place dedicated to mediation, made to follow the Zen philosophy while admiring the beauty of plants.
How to create a Zen garden?
Choose the right location
The Zen garden is a place conducive to meditation and relaxation. Therefore, it is better to choose a quiet location, if possible set back.
But you can totally integrate a Zen garden in the middle of a more classic-looking garden, that’s what some people do. For this, use bamboo, for example, to create a serene atmosphere.
The other idea is to create your Zen garden in a patio, with a window. An ideal solution if you have no land.
In any case, the location should not be chosen at random because it is a corner conducive to inner peace, far from the tumult.
Organize the space
The next step is to define the space and determine how it will be bounded. Are you going to use an exotic wood fence, a bamboo hedge, vertical slates…?
To organize the space in the best conditions, it is better to draw up a precise plan on paper indicating the spaces, the materials, the colors, the plants to be installed, any decorations and pieces of furniture.
Do not forget to take into account certain elements such as the position of the sun at different times of the day. As you will have understood, before embarking on the preparation of the ground, everything must be carefully thought out.
Preparing the ground for your Zen garden
You have selected the best place to create your Zen garden and designed a precise plan? Perfect ! The next step now is to prepare the ground to welcome your piece of paradise.
First start by removing all the weeds and troublesome plants. Then use a roller to level the floor.
You can then install a geotextile, making sure to let it protrude from the ground. This will prevent weeds from coming.
Then, define your Zen garden using exotic wood joists or large pebbles. In addition to their separating function, they will hold the geotextile.
To break the monotony, place stones vertically and horizontally while respecting the symbolism of the cosmos. And always think odd number. The Zen garden does not support symmetry.
Near the central rocks you can also plant a fern, a bamboo unless you prefer a Japanese maple. If you wish, also put moss on the rocks if it is in a shady place. Also, do not forget to pour sand and gravel on the area belonging to the garden.
Finally, rake the Zen garden starting from an angle.
The decoration of the Zen garden
A number of elements are essential for decorating a Zen garden.
There are several styles with different materials and with various arrangements of stone.
In the tradition of the Zen garden, Japanese steps are made to participate in the imagination. Arrange an odd number to create an imbalance, which paradoxically contributes to harmony. Unlike French gardens, the Zen garden puts asymmetry in the spotlight. Think about it when you go your way.
In popular culture, the bridge symbolizes the passage from one world to another. It also gives access to the island and evokes paradise.
Zen garden enthusiasts like to integrate this strong element into their place of meditation.
The lanterns are there objects diverted from their use. In a Zen garden, the lantern indicates the presence of man.
Depending on their size, their position and their material, they have an aesthetic or practical vocation.
There are great models. You can thus choose this object as a strong element of your garden.
Place one or more Zen statues in your garden. It can be a small Buddha, for example. You can easily find them in decoration and gardening stores.
If you put furniture in your Zen garden, always think sobriety by choosing raw furniture.
Generally, in a Zen-inspired garden, there is a simple stone or granite bench
Advice : even if you are seduced by a multitude of Zen-inspired objects and decorations, choose sobriety. Indeed, this is the main secret of a successful Zen garden. Resist the temptation to accumulate. And instead articulate your entire garden around a decorative element such as a water feature, a bridge or a large Zen statue.
Maintaining your Zen garden: our recommendations
It is not enough to create a Zen garden to be able to relax there at will. It is still necessary to maintain it regularly so that it respects its primary function.
To do this, pick up the dead leaves that have fallen in your Zen garden. And it is also recommended to rake the area at least once a week to keep the place looking good. Always rake from the outside to leave no trace in your paradise.
Finally, prune the plants by controlling their shape, and don’t forget to water them as needed.