Zen gardens, or otherwise known as Japanese rock gardens (translated from Japanese into dry landscape garden, are stylized landscapes with carefully arranged settings of carefully pruned trees and bushes, rocks, water features, moss, all surrounded in a layer of sand or gravel that can be raked to resemble water. In modern times, they have transcended Japanese culture to become popular worldwide, and you can bring some of this ancient Japanese peace and beauty into your own backyard.
While zen gardens are often made in miniature form, in sizes small enough to fit your desk or tabletop, it is deceptively easy to scale up the construction and install a zen garden directly into your backyard. Placing a life size zen garden into your backyard does more than just add to your outdoor area’s natural beauty, but provides several other benefits as well.
A Tranquil Escape
A zen garden is, historically, a place for meditation. Ancient Buddhist monks would take on the simple and repetitive task of creating water-like waves in the sand, flowing naturally around the installed rock and tree features, as a way to let go of everyday stresses and focus on the task at hand to clear the mind.
Whether you practice meditation, or are seeking a quiet and beautiful place to be alone with your thoughts, a zen garden in the comfort of your home can be the quick and easy answer to lasting peace in your life. They are simple and elegant, while offering up a place for contemplation outside of your hectic lifestyle.
Choose Your Budget: Low Cost or Elaborate
Part of the innate beauty of a zen garden is the simplicity, minimalism, and elegance that has world-wide appeal. For some, the best part about the simplicity of a zen garden is the implicit meaning: low cost.
Most of your garden will be comprised of two basic parts, rock and sand, both of which are incredibly common around the world and therefore can easily be acquired at a very inexpensive rate. You can find low cost sand at local gardening stores, and with a little creative hunting in nearby parks find the best stones for the area, which may be especially appealing as they will gain some personal significance from your experience out in the woods hunting them down.
Of course, if you want to spend a little bit more on your zen garden, there is no reason not to pick and choose certain aspects that can be found in more elaborate or more decorative styles. In short, a rock garden can be installed within whatever budget you have to offer, so you are no worse off after having one made available to you personally.
Combined Flexibility and Functionality
A zen garden is the perfect combination of functionality, provide a tranquil area for your mental escape from stress, alongside flexibility in terms of size, style, available space, and any other individual needs you might have. In fact, a zen garden can be placed just in one corner of your garden, or expanded to sweep across the entire backyard space.
In addition, this little Japanese rock garden can be adapted to suit your gardening style, whether you prefer low or high maintenance—though they are innately low maintenance (check out the section below). You can choose any color or shape that you like of literally every feature, and that includes the sand, rocks, optional shrubbery and moss, and even the overall shape of the garden.
In short, with a little ingenuity and thought behind the choices of what features to include, a rock garden can easily suit your garden’s style, and allow you to make relaxing water waves on your own terms.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, but sand and stone do not degenerate over just a few days, months, or even a couple years. In fact, if you don’t choose to install the optional trees or small plants, there would be no need at all to feed or water your water garden, simply keep the area free from debris for a beautiful and clean look.
A Perfect Fit for Any Style
No matter what you have to offer in your backyard, a zen garden can add something unique and interesting in your personal escape, without requiring hours of maintenance.