People need nature in their lives. When you’re stuck in a city, surrounded by concrete behemoths and roads, you don’t feel completely at home. Humans have evolved to enjoy and spend time among nature and diverse, lush greenery. While you can’t bring a forest into your neighbourhood, you can still transform your home’s backyard into a spiritual oasis of nature. This little slice of heaven doesn’t appear on its own, as you have to build it from the ground up. If you want to create a Zen oasis for yourself, here’s how you can do it.
Create a rock garden
No Zen oasis would be complete without some hard, natural elements. Rocks might not seem very interesting at first, but they can become a cornerstone of your garden when placed properly. In Japanese gardening, a proper Zen space isn't complete without a rock formation. Rocks help emulate a truly natural environment that features all kinds of diverse materials. They also provide a stillness and unique tranquillity, as they don't require maintenance nor attention.
Not to mention, it's not too difficult to come up with an interesting rock formation. There are many ways to incorporate them into your garden. You can place them among plants so that they add stability and make it a lot easier to avoid stepping on them. This would make for great camouflage and keep them concealed, but visible enough to add charm to the garden.
Alternatively, you can create an entire section dedicated to the rock formation. A patch of fine sand which includes a few large and irregular rocks would create a very charming and relaxing view. Instead of sand, you can use pebbles or gravel to line the patch and create interesting textures.
When designing your backyard, you’ll introduce a wide variety of colourful plants that add personality to the space. It’s only natural, considering that lush and beautiful natural elements give you something gorgeous to look at and give you some extra pride in your gardening. However, a true Zen space needs to have down-to-earth elements that aren’t particularly flashy or extreme.
Many Zen gardens include succulents for this very reason. They’re attractive, low-maintenance plants that don’t grow too large or take up too much space. They can be planted and left alone in the garden or around a rock formation without much effort. This independence provides a sense of serenity in the space, as you don’t have to take care of them too often. The soft colours and shapes only add to the charm and soothing factor of succulents.
You can create rows of succulents that line your garden path or surround certain plants. They act as a calm detail to contrast any flashy and wild plants you might have around your garden.
Add comfortable seating
To fully experience the beauty and tranquillity of your backyard, you need to be able to enjoy it in a relaxing atmosphere. When you're able to have a seat, drink some tea, and gaze upon your garden, you can better appreciate the work you've put in to make it so soothing. The key element here is the seating. Add front row seats to your personal backyard oasis so that you can enjoy it to its fullest extent.
The seating should be as comfortable as possible. Being hunched forward on uncomfortable and sturdy chairs isn’t going to make for a very relaxing atmosphere. If you want to gather here with your friends and family, you need something more comfortable.
Patio furniture has come a long way from simple metal chairs. Cozy couches and armchairs would be more appropriate for a relaxing backyard oasis. To create an even cozier seat, add ample pillows to the furniture. Keep them colourful to match the garden’s hues and you’ll have a view worthy of admiration, even when looking from inside your home.
Provide natural shade
There’s nothing more beautiful than watching your garden bloom during the spring and summer. As the warm sun emerges after a cold winter, nature comes alive and provides us with gorgeous views in our gardens. However, the sun’s rays aren’t always a welcome addition to an outdoor area. As summer approaches, the temperatures can soar and make spending time in the backyard unbearable. Without shade, you’re likely to feel too uncomfortable to truly relax in the backyard.
Luckily, there are many natural shading options you can add to your garden to keep the sun at bay. A garden could always use a few trees here and there. They add to the vertical beauty of the garden and backyard, while also providing ample shade. Plant a few trees near your patio and garden and you won’t be lacking for shade any time soon. As these trees grow and bloom, they’ll be their own attraction and add further beauty to the oasis.
Lay a pathway
Sitting down and enjoying your gorgeous backyard view is great, but it’s not nearly as relaxing as having a stroll through it. When you want to let your mind wander and forget about your daily worries, a walk is just what you need. If you can’t visit a park or walking path nearby, walking through your garden is the next best thing.
Build a pathway through your backyard and garden that will allow you to absorb all the beautiful views without accidentally stepping on your carefully maintained garden. Stone paths go well with Zen gardens, as they use natural materials that you can find anywhere. You can even use compacted granite or loose gravel for your path. Combine it with dirt paths and you’ll have a comfortable way to navigate your garden every morning when you want to smell the fresh air and enjoy your personal oasis.
Garden with care
Nature tends to go its own way and disregards barriers that we set up for it. Many of the most beautiful plants that we put in our gardens are very aggressive, and they tend to outgrow their pots and garden spaces. They might even suffocate other plants in their vicinity. This is why maintaining the garden with various tools and barriers is so important. A Zen garden can’t be overflowing with plants left and right. It needs to have a balance.
Use stones and gravel to create barriers for plants that are aggressive growers. Keep them separated from other plants so that their roots don’t sap the adjacent soil of nutrients and prevent other plants from growing. Trim hedges and vines to prevent them from outgrowing their space. Wisteria plants bloom with gorgeous violet flowers, but they also grow incredibly fast and attach themselves to walls and wooden surfaces. Potted plants should also be trimmed and rid of dead leaves when the time comes.
Every Zen gardener will have a set of well-made garden tools and equipment to work with. This makes gardening a lot easier than doing it by hand, and it saves you time that could be better spent meditating and enjoying the view. Even if you maintain your garden on a daily basis, that’s no reason to keep your tools outside. This would only add clutter to your backyard and damage the relaxing atmosphere. Remove these reminders of hard labour and put them in a shed in your backyard. This way, you protect them from rust and keep them out of view.
Install a birdbath
Every aspect of nature should feel welcome in your backyard. Birds are very important for pollinating various plants, and they help keep pests away from your delicate flowers. To make your garden more welcoming of our avian friends, you should consider installing a birdbath.
This flowing water fixture would attract various local birds that would drink from it and bathe inside. It's a small detail that would add quaint charm and a more natural feel to your backyard. Not to mention, birds often prey on insects that are harmful to your garden. If they are present in your backyard, you won't be seeing as many of these insects. This means there will be no need for pesticides to keep your plants healthy.
Flowing water also adds to the relaxation factor of your Zen space. Listening to birds chirping and playing in the water can help soothe the mind and make you feel like you’re in a small slice of your own park.
There are many elements that can turn an ordinary backyard into a perfect Zen oasis. Building one isn’t as much of a technical process as it is a spiritual one. Even without knowing much about Zen gardens and spaces, you can use your senses as a guide to tell you what would feel relaxing and wonderful in your outdoor space. Still, it’s important that you are aware of all the different ways you can adorn your backyard with Zen elements. It will help you build a much more potent zone for relaxation and destressing. Keep the above examples in mind and you’ll build a perfect oasis for you and your family to enjoy.