How To Design And Plant Your Own Zen Garden

Meditation is something that you can take with you anywhere. There is no specific place or time that it needs to be done. You can be sitting up, lying down or even standing and still get your mind in a place of zen. It’s truly a great example of “the best things in life are free.”

That said, if you meditate often, it can be very nice to make a special space for yourself to practice. One way to accomplish this is to create a zen garden right in your very own home. While this might sound daunting, it’s actually pretty simple if you get a few basic materials and carefully plan out your space.

Of course, individuals that are skilled in woodworking, masonry or botany can create some truly impressive zen garden artistry. However, if like me you do not have these skills, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a beautiful zen garden. The following is a general guide to a basic, beautiful, no-artisan-mastery-required zen garden.

Assess your space

First, decide where you want your zen garden to be. It can be indoors or outdoors. If you have space in your backyard or a porch that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, these can be wonderful locations for an outdoor zen garden. If you have an extra room in your house, an indoor, enclosed porch or a lanai, these can make for great indoor zen gardens. Walk around your space, relax and really study the potential that it has. Get to know the space and think about how to arrange it for maximum relaxation.

Draw your design

This step is best completed in the space you are going to transform into your zen garden. Grab a sketchpad or a piece of paper and a pencil, sit in your space in what’s to be your main meditation spot and draw a rough sketch of what the space looks like. Then, start adding details such as pathways, rocks, fountains and plants. Plan out on paper where you want things to go and how you want them to look.

If you’re feeling stumped, check out these photos for inspiration. Many of these are elaborate, but they can still give you some good ideas. Just remember, minimalism is great and clutter can be stressful, so don’t overdo it, especially in a smaller space.

Gather your materials

Once you have an idea of how you want your zen garden to look, it’s time to gather some supplies. The following are just a few ideas of things you can add:

  • Plants, small trees and flowers: you can grow these from seeds or get potted varieties.
  • Rocks: you can use rocks of varying sizes to create pathways, to make rock art sculptures, as incense or essential oil tables, or just to accent a space.
  • Fountains: these can be large or small, depending on your space. Make sure the sound of the fountain as it bubbles is pleasing to you — you don’t want a whining fountain to throw you off of your meditation.
  • Sand: you can set up sand trays with rakes. Raking colored sand into swirls is very relaxing and centering.
  • Seats: these can be cushions, stools or benches — whatever you prefer to meditate on. Make it something that is both beautiful and comfortable.

Get to work

Now that you have gathered your materials, it’s time to put your plan into action! You can plant and build your garden alone, or you can recruit friends and family to help you. Take your time and spread the work over a few days (or even weeks) if necessary. Don’t rush. Place each item mindfully, and see that everything in your garden works together for a common purpose of zen. Feel how the energy flows. If something is off, rearrange.

Once you’re finished, there’s only one thing to do. Step into your zen garden, meditate and enjoy!

— Meditation Daily