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Zen Garden - Your Zen space should be uncluttered. Keep things simple, as this will create a calm feeling. Zen Garden - Your Zen space should be uncluttered. Keep things simple, as this will create a calm feeling.

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Great Tips to Create and Maintain A Zen Garden

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Zen GardenYour Zen space should be uncluttered. Keep things simple, as this will create a calm feeling.

What area of your yard would be perfect for a meditation space?

Tailor your garden in a way that suits your personal tastes. You want a space you actually want to spend time in.
Tailor your garden in a way that suits your personal tastes. You want a space you actually want to spend time in.

Do you want to create your own Zen garden? It’s easier than you think. Read on to find out how to do it.

Choose A Site

What area of your yard would be perfect for a meditation space? How large will it be? Ideally, you should choose a corner that’s out of the way or a narrow part of the yard. To help you visualize the finished meditation space, you should make preliminary measures.

Research

Research to help you get ideas. Turn to resources such as books, the internet or even local/regional gardens that have Zen spaces. Make a list of things you want your space to have.

Guiding Principles Should Be Used

There are several principles that are used when Zen gardens are created. These principles include Asymmetry, Naturalness and Simplicity. The other principles include Subtlety, Stillness and Magical. Make sure your Zen garden promotes all of those concepts or at least some of them.

Draw A Rough Sketch Of A Design

A rough sketch can be used to help you really visualize your finished meditation space. If you plan on creating an elaborate space, then it’s probably a good idea to speak with a landscape designer. Larger rocks can be difficult to move around, which is why you should know beforehand whether or not you’ll be using them.

Be Flexible With The Design

Authentic Zen gardens don’t have water features, and only a handful of plants. However, there are many design variations in which plants and water can play a major role. Be flexible and be prepared to play around with various looks.

Make The Garden Inviting

Use aspects of Zen gardening that appeal to you the most. Tailor your garden in a way that suits your personal tastes. You want a space you actually want to spend time in.

Scaling

You should consider scale. Materials that are going to be used should be scaled with the size of the garden room. Using large stones can be too much for a small space. On the other hand, using small stones can get lost in a large landscape.

Keep Things Simple

Your Zen space should be uncluttered. Keep things simple, as this will create a calm feeling. Feel free to opt for a muted colour scheme because this will help you relax your mind.

Elements Of A Zen Garden

Different elements hold different symbolic meanings. For example, water is what is represented when gravel or sand has been raked into patterns. Meanwhile, larger rocks represent natural elements, islands, mountains or animals.

Elements of a Zen garden can create an environment that allows your mind to drift off. With that said, there are several main features you should consider using in your garden. These features include:

1. Rocks- Rocks are often incorporated in Japanese Zend gardens. Rocks represent the desire humans have for eternity. If installing larger rocks, then make sure you install them first.

2. Gravel- Gravel that has been raked into patterns has symbolic meaning. Raking gravel is a skill that one has to learn. It’s worth it because the skill can play a role in improving focus.

If you can’t use gravel, then consider using sand. Gravel, however, is easy to maintain and it’s more durable. As for what colours pebbles or gravel should be, opt for light neutral colours.

Gravel that has been raked into patterns usually signifies a season or it is designed to evoke a specific mood. For example, gravel that has a straight line design can evoke the feeling of serenity and calmness. To create a straight line design in gravel, all you need is a metal rake.

3. Screening In Your Garden- You can enclose your space with a number of things. This includes fencing or a wall. Others include hedging, bamboo screening or lattice panels.

4. Statues- Statues can serve as a focal point of the garden. Japanese lanterns and/or Buddha figurines are popular choices when it comes to statues. Just make sure you put your statues in an area that stands out.

5. Pathways – Pathways can make your Zen garden more accessible to yourself and your visitors. Just make sure you choose materials that will contrast with large gravel or rocks. This will ensure the colors don’t clash.

The plants you choose for your garden shouldn't overwhelm the landscape
The plants you choose for your garden shouldn’t overwhelm the landscape.

A pathway can affect your experience, which is why you need to place it in a specific way. For example, a straight pathway is simple and shouldn’t distract you. However, a path that has several stopping points can serve as a distraction because it tempts whoever is using it to stop, linger and/or observe.

6. Places To Sit – You need to consider seating when you’re creating your Zen garden. Place a chair or a bench in an area of the garden that’ll allow you to get the most enjoyment possible. Remember, you want to be able to view your garden, which is why you should take time to consider where your garden furniture should go.

7. Water – Generally speaking, water isn’t found in traditional Zen gardens. However, water can create a calm atmosphere. You can place a fountain in your garden to help you relax while you meditate.

8. Lights – Lights add a more appealing look to Zen gardens. Consider using lights throughout yours. The best places to use lights include on trees, pathways or on statues. However, the choice is completely up to you.

9. Plants – Only a handful of plants are typically found in a Zen garden, but you can customize your garden to suit your personal tastes. The plants you choose for your garden shouldn’t overwhelm the landscape. Stick to plants that are low, that way they won’t serve as a distraction.

If you want to evoke harmony and serenity, then choose foliage in natural colors. Good choices for plants include dwarf conifers, sedges, mosses, ferns and azaleas to name a few. Take your time to compare as many plants as possible before deciding on which ones to use throughout your garden.

4 Tips On Maintaining A Zen Garden

Zen gardens might look great all year round, but they do require maintenance. In fact, they require ongoing maintenance on a regular basis. With that said, keep these tips in mind because they will help you maintain your Zen garden:

1. Rake Gravel

The gravel should be raked. This will keep it looking fresh. It’ll also keep the patterns looking good.

2. Leaves Should Be Picked Up

Pick up leaves. This will keep your Zen garden looking neat. Depending on the design of your garden and the rest of your landscape, you might want to pick up leaves frequently.

3. De-weeding

Weeds tend to become a problem in the summer months. You’ll want to ensure your planting areas and the gravel are completely free of weeds. The good news is that during the winter months, you shouldn’t have to do any weeding at all.

4. Pruning

To keep plants looking neat, you’ll want to prune them. Make sure you cut off any dead branches you come across. Spent flowers should also be removed. If there are groundcovers that are creeping up, then trim them.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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