How To Create A Backyard Zen Oasis

If you love the idea of having a beautiful, Zen inspired backyard where you can meditate, then here's how you can do it. The process is relatively simple, and once it is set up there is virtually no maintenance.

Create A Gravel Garden

The main basis for any Zen space is the gravel garden. This gravel will serve as the foundation for the large stones that will be placed later on. You don't have to fill your entire backyard with gravel. What you can to is designate a particular space for the gravel and install a plastic edging to make the boundary clear. The design doesn't have to be a square or a rectangle. If you want a curving garden, then that's perfectly fine.

Scrape off the top layer of the soil inside the edging and lay down a weed barrier. This will help prevent you from having to do much cleaning of the gravel later on down the road.

Select gravel that is small and round. You want it to be easily raked because you will be making designs in the gravel later. After the gravel has been laid, you can go back and hide the edging by hammering it down into the soil and covering it with gravel.

Decorate With Large Rocks

Place large rocks throughout the gravel. You don't want too many rocks because it will look cluttered. They should be focal points. Stand some up high and lay others flat. In classical Zen design these were meant to represent mountains and valleys.

Rake Designs In The Gravel

With a rake, make designs in the gravel. These designs are meant to symbolize waves of water. You can see an example of the design here.

Use Appropriate Trees

Outside of the gravel garden, you should plant a few trees. Select those that are traditional to Japanese meditative gardens. These include Japanese Red maple, Flowering Cherry, or the Japanese White or Black pine. Like the stones, the trees should not overwhelm the garden, but rather serve as focal points. For beautiful trees and other foliage, contact a nursery such as Bob Williams Nursery Inc.

Running Water For Tranquil Sound

An important aspect for a tranquil Zen backyard is running water. The sound of the water helps to drown out distracting neighborhood noise. Set up the fountain outside of the gravel garden.

A Bench For Meditation

Finally, you will need somewhere to sit and meditate. A bench is preferable to separate chairs. The bench conforms to the Zen aesthetic. Choose a stone bench, or if you prefer, a plain wooden bench. The design should be simple, with no back or sides.  

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