Setting up your garden or part of it in a Zen garden is a very good idea to enjoy a very soothing little corner. Since the 14th century, Japan has started setting up what we call now “Zen gardens” that were mainly intended to facilitate meditation. In love with this type of peaceful and relaxing layout, we’ll show you how to get an appreciable result. Zen gardens can be installed on the surroundings of a house with very contemporary architecture, or on a plot settled in the middle of a classical garden.
What is a Zen garden?
The Zen garden is also called Dry garden, Karesansui, or Japanese rock garden. Its main characteristics include sand, rocks, and gravel. They are sometimes covered with foam, all these mineral components have a strong symbolism. It is minimalist and this is part of its secret, which is why it encourages introspection. Generally, there is water in this kind of gardens, but if there is none, it is represented by gravel or sand. In this case, waves are drawn using a gravel rake. These Japanese gardens made their appearance in Europe a few centuries later since it is only in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that they begin to be copied. Of course, there is no single and defined rule to create a Zen garden, but it must still respect some fundamentals to be perfectly successful.
How to create a Zen garden?
Start by looking for the best location. In a patio that connects two buildings in your home, it’s perfect. Otherwise, try to delimit a plot of your garden with a bamboo hedge. These are some ideas to create a little relaxing corner in your garden:
How to set it up?
– The first step is to clean the plot you have chosen by removing the plants if there are any and removing the weeds carefully.
– Flatten the floor with a roller so that the surface is perfectly flat and smooth.
– Place a geotextile felt on the ground; make it exceed 7-8 inches on each side to prevent weeds from invading your zen garden again.
– If you have not demarcated the plot with bamboo, place large pebbles, exotic wood paneling, vertically planted slate, or railroad ties. These elements allow you to keep the geotextile perfectly in place.
– Now place your stones by putting a part vertically and the flattest horizontally. This way, the landscape will be more natural and you break the monotony by giving it altitude. You can group them by 3, 5 or 7, the goal being to recall the symbolism of the cosmos surrounded by the 9 sacred mountains, evocation well present in the Zen garden.
– If you really want to bring a vegetal touch to this garden, plant in its center next to some rocks, a bamboo, a pine, a Japanese maple or a fern, preferably all in a pot so you don’t have to damage the geotextile coating. You can also put mosses on some stones, but to do so, your garden must be shaded and damp.
– Then cover the whole parcel with a thick layer of white gravel or sand, provided you choose an average grain size.
– With a rake, carefully rake the surface of the ground from an angle towards you so that your steps do not leave marks.
– Around the rocks, you create a wave movement and everywhere else straight lines. Another option to give height aspect is to play with the thickness by making small hills. This option is particularly suitable for minimalist Zen gardens without plants or stones.
– To be sure not to make a mistake, you can make a plan before starting the realization of this garden. It will preferably be designed based on geometric lines so as to preserve a beautiful harmony. It is not necessary to delimit a large plot to realize it, but if your garden is too sunny, you have to opt for a bamboo hedge that allows structuring the space you dedicate to it, in this way it will be shaded.
Decorating a Zen garden: Essential accessories
The goal of this Japanese garden is to be Zen; it must be stripped, so no need to encumber it with many objects that would be likely to remind the Japanese culture. The goal is to give a minimalist and relaxing landscape, the overload is not necessary. As already mentioned, it is possible to add some plants in glazed pots, the maples of Japan are also popular with Feng Shui style enthusiasts who appreciate the scarlet colors they are adorned with.
You can add rocks, sandstone balls that symbolize the mountain. It is also possible to place a bamboo fountain in Shishi Odoshi that gives movement and a pleasant background sound. Opt for a piece of pretty garden furniture in natural material placed on a grating terrace and you offer yourself moments of peace and rest while enjoying a delicious green tea! If you like, make a sandy path surrounded by a few pebbles to evoke the image of the river coming down from the mountain.
Of course, if you really want to, you can always add a Buddha that you will place at the entrance of this dry garden. The typically Japanese lamp is also an accessory that can be hidden in this type of garden. Some lanterns illuminate more or less certain areas of this parcel, they are visible or rather hidden by the plants if you have put some.
You can dig a pond or a small pond to bring water, an essential element in the Japanese garden. You will slip some fish and possibly some aquatic plants like water lilies. The tea house is also a good idea if you want to take your project to the end. You will access it by a way figured by Japanese steps!
The Japanese stone lamp is a representative and useful accessory, you can have some more or less visible to light your garden discreetly.
Japanese Garden Decor:
How to maintain a Zen garden?
The Zen garden requires little maintenance compared to a classical garden. However, you must be regular to keep it beautiful. :
- The most painful part is cleaning dead leaves, especially if you have trees nearby which is often the case. The presence of sand or gravel complicates this task a little.
- It is also recommended to rake once a week so that the drawings that make all its charm and personality stand out well and to keep its beautiful appearance.
- In case of rain, be extra careful and remove wet leaves as soon as possible so that they do not stain the gravel. You will then have to rake to remove all traces left while walking.
- If you have disposed of some plants, do not forget to cut them in order to keep the shapes you had originally given.
- Water them and especially in summer, use a watering can and a rake to draw again the decorations of the ground.
Now that you know all about the Zen garden, all you have to do is choose the perfect place to relax peacefully from the first rays of the sun.