Design Trends: Japanese Zen Garden Design
Lately, homeowners have decided to do something about their empty, patchy backyard and make it over – Japanese style. What exactly makes up a Zen-inspired Japanese garden? It’s not just putting a Buddha statue next to a stalk of bamboo – it takes planning, consideration, and lots of time to properly pull off a functional, tranquil Zen garden.
Japanese Zen gardens date all the way back to the 13th century. They are known there as rock gardens, where the infamous soothing sand raking takes place. Along with the sand, traditional Japanese rock gardens also include:
- Rocks of different sizes
- Running water
- Different plants & trees
- Seating areas
If you want to include all of these elements into your garden, there is no specific pattern you need to follow. All Zen gardens have a different layout and look because they are meant to represent the soul of the person who put it together.
When it comes to rocks, some gardens feature gravel instead of sand as the main ground covering, surrounded by foliage as a border. You can scatter bigger rocks, around the size of a basketball or more, around the garden for visual interest. You could also use eraser-sized pebbles as a border to frame a tree, a patch of sand, or the lower patio. Another popular way to used stones in a rock garden is placing flat stepping stones throughout.
Running water is obviously found in an outdoor fountain. There is nothing more soothing then the soft flow of running water, so it’s a great addition to a calming Zen garden. You could even consider installing a pond into your backyard, if you have the space and budget. Then you could set up the fountain in the middle, just like a traditional Japanese rock garden.
Plants and tree options are near endless in a Zen themed garden. The Japanese maple tree might be the most prominently used, which is a sight to see in the fall because its leaves change colour quite vibrantly. You might think that flowers are not prominent in Japanese gardens, but that’s not always true. The azalea plant stays green most of the year, but then blossoms with one of the most lovely, colourful blooms of all flowers. Moss is also found in rock gardens – on the barks of trees, on rocks, or growing up the fence. Remember that grass can also be featured in these gardens, but it’s normally mixed or broken up with sand or rocks.
Low-profile benches and lounge seats will help you relax in a Japanese garden. Of course, you can also grab a yoga mat and place it in the center of the garden, do a couple poses, and then meditate to get the full, calming affect of the space. It doesn’t matter where you put your seating, as long as they’re in a place that is comfortable and makes you feel at peace.
Nicolette Interor Design Diva