Zen gardens are intended to be peaceful places where you can relax and even meditate. There are actually many different styles and types of Zen gardens. Some include mainly rocks while others are made mostly from moss. You can take a few steps to create a Japanese-inspired Zen garden.
Start With an Entryway
Start by creating an entryway to the garden. This could be an arbor or a covered bamboo archway. Place bamboo fencing around the entryway to block out the sounds and sights of the outside world.
Create Curving Paths That Hide the Garden
You want to create curving paths throughout the garden. The idea is that you should not be able to see very far through the garden. This creates a sense of peacefulness and mystery. Use tall plantings to block the view where the path turns. You should have a sense of discovery when walking through a Zen garden.
Use Subtle Color Variations in Plantings
Zen gardens use subtle variations in color in order to create depth and interest. Choose evergreens and other plants that are different shades of green. Accent them with other colors in key spots. A Japanese maple is a good choice for an accent. Additionally, vary the texture. Look for plants that have shiny foliage and accent them with plants that have textured leaves.
Fill Empty Spaces with Moss
If you have areas around stepping-stones, areas along borders or areas around rocks that are bare, then fill them with moss. Moss is a very traditional element in many Zen gardens. You can purchase moss or use different techniques to encourage it to grow naturally.
Add a Private Seating Area
Place a private seating area deep inside of the garden where there is no view of the outside world. This could be a simple wooden platform with two chairs on it. It could be a covered structure similar to a gazebo. Keep the seating area open and peaceful.
Incorporate a Water Feature
Zen gardens almost always have a water feature. The sound of running or falling water is important. You could incorporate a fountain, a small waterfall made from rocks or even a stream if there is a water source nearby. You might also want to create a separate pool of standing water that can hold goldfish or koi.
Prune Trees in Interesting Shapes
The trees in most Zen gardens are pruned and trained into interesting shapes. You should prune the trees into shapes that complement the surrounding plantings and landscape. Keep the shapes organic and natural. Distinctive pruning will create interest and beauty over the years as the garden grows.
Create a Raked Gravel Garden
The final feature to add is a raked gravel garden. This is an area covered in small pieces of gravel. A few stones are often placed down in the gravel. You then use a rake or even your fingers to create wave-like trails across the gravel and around the stones. This is intended to help you meditate or think more clearly. The gravel garden could be very small or very large depending on your tastes.
Other than these suggestions, you can also have a Japanese garden shed added in your outdoors for a balance and harmonious atmosphere. You can get this from Shedstore.