15 Ideas for a Zen Garden

Build a space dedicated to serenity and contemplation in your garden to fully enjoy the benefits of spring.

By Anne-Laure Sizun for Houzz

Great difference between the traditional Japanese garden (nihon teien) or the Zen garden and our European pleasure gardens: we do not walk there, we do not cultivate there but one sits there and contemplates the landscape they offer, sometimes miniature. Two styles are available to you: the purely Japanese garden, which includes moult plants and a water point, or the Zen garden, minimalist. Inspired by the small outdoor spaces of meditation of Buddhist monks, the Zen garden is indeed a so-called dry landscape, without water point, with a lot of minerals (karesansui), most often composed of rocks, sands worked with rakes .

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1. Objective meditation, reflection and inner peace

Small size, the Zen corner is well defined, either by a hedge of natural bamboo (takegaki), or trellises of bamboo assembled and knotted by a black rope, or by joists of Exotic wood to protect looks.

Want a bit of fantasy? The colorful bamboo creates a screen not of greenery, but of color.

To evoke the mineral, one chooses to arrange there some rocks (ishi), pebbles or gravel which symbolize then the water of this dry Japanese garden. A little foam, some cushions, a hammock for the most modern, you are ready to relax or even meditate.

Fortunately, this type of garden requires very little maintenance, unless you decide to rake the gravel like a Buddhist monk, to form wavy waves.

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2 Mountain Gardens. More space: a big step towards the Japanese tradition

The Japanese steps ( tobi-ishi ), these worn stones as harvested in the nature, must always be arranged in odd number. They evoke mountain screes or riverbank rocks and especially allow to go to his place of meditation without getting wet feet or kimono. The goal is also to avoid walking on mosses and the earth. If you have pine trees, they will fit perfectly in your Zen corner because they symbolize longevity. On the ground, choose dwarf or slow-growing species to mimic a miniature forest.

Here, a sinuous flow of water flows in a tsukubai (or mizubashi ), the famous little "pond where one leans". Traditionally a water stone powered by a cane of bamboo or reed, it allows the visitor to purify their hands and mouth before the tea ceremony.He is here in iron.

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3. Bonsai Culture

Total Change ... in North Carolina! This pavilion is entirely dedicated to the bonsai culture that the gardener cares to exhibit on rocks. It reproduces a mountain landscape in miniature, elegantly combining the mineral and the plant.

Without risking bringing rocks into your garden, consider placing large pebbles or slates planted vertically, others horizontally, to replicate the nine sacred mountains of the cosmos as well.

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4. And why not a design corner?

A nice Zen corner can also be design. He willingly accompanies a contemporary house, or industrial style or more classic. You do not need your habitat to be in wood. Everywhere, like here, in Australia, we set the scene: a garden lounge chair, ink color, on an exotic wooden terrace, some plants growing in the rock garden, Japanese statues and this pretty stone wall pierced with a round cut, like a rising sun.

Tip: Only use natural materials such as wood, wicker, stone.

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5. Composing your plant perspective around a water body

Perspective is very important in the table and the size of the plants as much. Here, an "island of tree and shrubs" cut in cloud to let the eye, or plateau, brings a foreground. In the back, we find most of the persistent or deciduous plants that lend themselves to it: boxwood, holly, cedar, pine, yew, cotoneaster, quince of Japan. The size makes it possible to give a venerable air to still young plants. They can then be placed in pots (bonsai), in the ground ( niwaki ). When you have a pond, add some aquatic plants: reeds, irises for banks, lotus, water lilies. They will cheer it up in the summer.

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6 gardens. A small garden pavilion to serve tea?

Want to revamp your wooden garden shed? If you think about it, the idea of ​​revisiting the tea pavilion version is quite feasible:

◦ If possible, remove the front of your cabin or provide sliding doors, keep its awning or noki in Japanese.

◦ put the gravel in front of it, dig it gently down the center to install a small basin of water (otherwise, this little sea of ​​gravel or sand will evoke it),

◦ plant it some plants typical of the Japanese garden like boxwood that you cut into a ball to mimic a grove and why not a young Japanese maple, with its coppery red leaves,

◦ ground cover, think of the moss, the heather, symbolizing the undergrowth,

◦ add a winding driveway and three or five Japanese steps, some stones raised or lying as rocks, a pool of water with bamboo tube.

Then serve tea!

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7. Revisiting a Japanese-style decorative fountain

What's more soothing than getting fresh from the water, even in a pocket garden?

A major element of Japanese gardens, this element is present in all its forms: from the source to the water stone, via the stream, or even the waterfall. Here, a contemporary fountain, in Australia, takes a japonizing look by the contribution of stones arranged all around the basin, boxwood carved in balls, but also by a nice play of light, in particular a bush enlightened in red. A magical place to see the birds quench their thirst and cover the sounds of the city!

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