Have you ever sat outside and just felt the stresses and strains of life lift from your shoulders? Whether you’ve had a stressful day or just prefer your own company every now and again, just simply being outside and breathing in fresh air can turn your mood around in an instant.
However, you don’t have to wander too far to experience the relaxation of the outdoors – why not transform a part of your garden into the perfect zen space?
Build a rockery
If you are familiar with zen philosophy, you’ll know that rocks and boulders represent being strong and unmovable during difficult moments in life.
By installing a rockery or dotting large boulders around your space, you will be creating an area which oozes strength and determination – perfect for those moments when you’re not quite feeling as strong or determined as usual, or just need a little extra boost on a stressful day.
Draw in the sand
When thinking of a zen space, sand is probably the main aspect that comes to mind. The still nature of sand is said to give off a feeling of tranquillity, but many zen gardens have patterns raked into their sandy areas to signify how easy it is to be moved.
The act of raking the sand yourself calms the mind and can be extremely therapeutic, especially if you are escaping to the garden to clear your mind and meditate. If you feel your stress levels rising, head over to your sand, grab your rake and start drawing soft, ripple-like patterns.
Raking plays a huge part in zen design, and you will often find sand or gravel features in Japanese temples, where Buddhists can be seen raking the gravel as part of their rituals.
Ponds and Water Features
Whether you understand the zen mindset or not, there’s no denying that the sound of flowing water is one of the most relaxing things in life.
Installing a slow flowing water feature in your garden gives a sense of calm, but also gives the space some movement. Waterfalls in zen philosophy symbolise the changes that we go through in life, and how we stay the same despite the world changing around us.
If you have a larger space and would prefer a pond, there’s always the option of introducing Koi to your garden. As a symbol of life in motion, the Japanese see Koi as an important feature, and many Koi owners see them as some form of art.
However, if you are considering creating a pond environment, it’s important to ensure that precautions are made to deter animals from disturbing your fish.
If you’ve ever seen a traditional zen garden in Japan, you’ll notice that there are a lot of bamboo influences in the design of the space.
This is because it has heavily influenced the zen mantra for being deep rooted, but still able to sway in the breeze. In fact, there’s a famous zen quote which has been directly inspired by the bamboo forests of Japan – “Bend but don’t break. Be flexible yet firmly rooted.”.
With the use of bamboo in your garden for aspects such as fences or features, you can create an authentic zen space which encompasses all that zen means.
Alternatively, if bamboo is too expensive or hard to find, rattan garden furniture makes a fantastic, stylish alternative feature in your zen space.