Create A Japanese-Style Zen Garden In Your Backyard

13 July 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Everyone needs a little peace in their life, right? Imagine walking into your backyard and experiencing the Zen typical of landscaping in Japan. Such landscaping is characterized by carefully planned plantings around restrained garden décor. Create your own meditation space with your backyard gardening.

Start with Sight Lines from the House

As you get ready to design your Zen garden, start by looking out your windows. The goal is to create a serene view from the house that invites you outside. Especially focus on the windows with the most direct view of the backyard or that you naturally find yourself gazing out of. When you plan the landscaping, ensure you have pretty focal points in these sight lines.

Plant your Japanese Garden

As the Landscaping Network points out, the Japanese garden traditionally features lush, green plants. The goal here is to create deliberately placed plantings of seemingly wild greenery. So, start with a focal point plant, perhaps an ornamental tree such as a Japanese maple. Place it so it's clearly visible from the house. Surround the focal plant with rich greenery, such as hosta and ferns. Utilize moss to fill in any bare areas.

Another option is to create a monochromatic garden. Start with a manicured shrub, such as a box shrub. Fill in more layers of green with ferns, moss and even other evergreen bushes. This creates that restrained but fecund ambience characteristic of the Zen garden.

Create a Meandering Path

Part of the allure of Japanese landscaping is showing the interaction of humans with nature. This comes through in the typical meditation paths. You don't necessarily have to design a true, spiraling meditation walkway. However, plan your pathway with curves to still encourage meandering. You could plan the walkway so it circumvents a deliberately placed ornamental tree, or you could design vista to look over from the arc. For material, consider gravel for that natural feel. If you want a little more stability underfoot, opt for exposed aggregate concrete, which gives the same sort of look.

Install a Water Fountain

Along the lines of man interacting with nature, a water fountain is essential for your Zen garden. The running water symbolizes a spiritual cleansing. Designs are typically simple and made of natural materials. Think of a simple bamboo spout spilling into a stone basin or a granite sphere covered in a sheen of running water. Your water fountain is another item you can use both as a focal point from the house and as a diversion for your meandering path.

Your backyard becomes a meditation space when you install a Japanese-style Zen garden.