Japanese Garden Design: Create a Magnificent Zen Garden in 4 Simple Steps

Japanese Garden Design: Create a Magnificent Zen Garden in 4 Simple Steps

Looking to create a unique backyard that brings a feeling of tranquility and relaxation to your soul? You can achieve that with a good Japanese Garden design.

Gardens in the traditional Japanese style are becoming increasingly popular today. You can find them virtually everywhere in the Western world: in suburban neighborhoods, on rooftops of high-rise buildings, in city parks, etc.

This is largely attributed to the fact that Japanese Garden design brings out a beautiful and tranquil environment that will give you and your visitors a sense of inner peace. There are various types of Japanese Garden designs. Hence, you need to do some research and find out what design works best for you.

Japanese Zen garden
Image Source: Bilder Prinz

If you prefer a completely dry garden, Zen Garden should be a perfect Japanese Garden design for you. Zen gardens are typically composed of different sized boulders, sand, gravel, and rocks. Rocks and boulders represent islands whereas the sand and gravel are supposed to represent water.

For this article, the main goal is to show your how to create a magnificent Zen Garden in your home. Simply follow the simple steps outlined below:

Step 1: Find a Flat Area to Create Your Garden

This Japanese Garden design normally requires a flat and leveled landscape. So, be sure to choose the flattest possible area in your yard. You can even choose to level the land yourself.

Normally made in a square shape, Zen gardens can vary in size. So, you can choose a size that best suits your needs. However, in light of the fact that these gardens are usually used for meditation, it is advisable to make it large enough for you to meditate in.

Garden bench
Image Source: Dmitry Naumov

This is a dry Japanese Garden design, so you need to get rid of existing flowers and grass from the area in which you’re creating your garden. However, there are types of plants that are found in a Zen Garden and you should not remove them if they exist in your land. They include:

  • Small trees
  • Natural moss
  • Shrubbery

Step 2: Add Boulders, Rocks, and Sand to the Garden

First, create a border around your garden with boulders and rocks. This is to ensure that gravel and sand remain inside your designated Zen garden. Otherwise, they may spread all over the rest of your yard.

Once you’ve lined up your garden with rocks, spread about a 4-inch thick layer of sand or gravel over its bottom. Afterward, place different sized boulders and rocks throughout the rest of your Zen garden.

The rocks should be placed in small groupings all over the garden. This creates a simple and refined look.

Small japanese garden with Buddha statue
Image Source: RobertoC

Step 3: Add Suitable Plants to Your Garden

Zen is a simplistic Japanese Garden design. It normally includes limited plant life, which is mostly small trees, moss, and shrubbery. Besides the limited plant life, the primary focus of a Zen garden is the raked gravel representing streaming water.

If you can’t get Moss or natural trees, a few small potted plants can work just fine. Bamboo plants and small shrubs make for great additions to you Japanese Zen garden. However, avoid adding too many features. Zen gardens are supposed to be simple and soothing.

Buddha in tropical garden
Image Source: lynn k watson


Bonsai tree in zen garden
Image Source: Delphotostock

Step 4: Rake Water Features into your Japanese Garden Design

The last, and most important, thing to do is to rake your sand or gravel so that it denotes flowing water. This is an integral feature in a good Zen garden. It is advisable to use a rake with large, wide set teeth to pull designs through the sand or gravel. This will create a sharp, more legible design.

Once you’ve created the grooves using a rake, use a broom or broom handle to press into them. This will make the grooves deeper and more visible. The water designs should be soothing and relaxing. As such, creating them ought to be a relaxed process as well.

Be sure to create any designs that look the most striking to you. They can be circular designs, flowing designs, straight designs, etc.

Stone Temple In a Japanese Garden With Fall Colors
Image Source: egiadone

Final Thoughts

Gardening can be a source of gratification to those who take it as a hobby or even for those who will use the garden to produce their daily vegetable supply. Choosing the right garden design is normally limited by numerous factors, some of which are beyond your control. Japanese garden design is one of the designs you can adopt to make sure you get the best out of your yard. This article takes you through how to create a Zen garden, one of the most popular Japanese garden designs.



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