How to create a zen refuge in your very own garden

garden design

If you feel like you require a little mindfulness in your life, you’re not alone. In today’s hectic world, it’s hard to find a place for yourself where you can simply relax, unwind, and think about life. The good news is that you can create a place like that in your own garden! Why not create a Zen space for yourself that you can use to meditate and reflect on life? While it might sound outlandish at first, it’s a perfectly doable task. Here are some ways you can help mould your garden into a Zen refuge.

Decide on the size of your refuge

When it comes to creating your ideal Zen oasis, you first need to decide on its size. How big should you make it? How much space do you need to feel comfortable within your Zen refuge? It’s important that you don’t feel cramped in your safe space, so making it roomy should be one of your top priorities.

The most obvious limitation in this part of the process is the overall size of your backyard. If you want your Zen space to cover a large surface, you will have to dedicate a big chunk of your backyard towards this goal. If there’s a lot of room to work with, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if your backyard is relatively modest, you could end up turning the whole thing into a relaxing oasis. This wouldn’t turn out too bad, either.

Before you get to work on your backyard Zen refuge, you might want to consider starting smaller. It’s not just about creating the largest possible oasis to vibe in, you need to have a zone you can relax in on a mental level. Your Zen oasis can start with a small plant placed on your work desk to soothe you. Turn it into a small table garden you can appreciate and then consider moving up to the backyard. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll be able to better create a Zen atmosphere with a little experience.

Introduce some sturdy bamboo

Bamboo is an iconic plant that is found throughout various Asian countries. It’s famous for its toughness and resilience. It will sway in the slightest breeze while remaining firmly rooted into the ground. Its many positive spiritual attributes make this plant an ideal pick for your Zen garden.

There is a Zen saying that goes: “Bend but don’t break. Be flexible yet firmly rooted.” It’s a saying that was inspired by the resilience of the bamboo plant. “Firmly rooted” is an understatement. It’s pretty difficult to uproot a bamboo plant, and even harder to get it out completely. Some would even call it impossible to get rid of traces of the plant when it’s been put in the soil. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, especially not for a well-maintained Zen garden.

The great thing about bamboo is that it’s one of the perfect symbolic plants for a personal Zen oasis. Whenever you feel shaken to your core or not exactly rooted in reality, you can remember the bamboo plants you’ve introduced to your garden. Their strength can help guide you through your issues. They remind you that you can sway and shake under pressure, but your strong roots will keep you safe.

Feel the tranquility of moss

Moss is a very interesting kind of plant. It occurs naturally in many types of gardens, including the Zen kind. However, it only appears when specific conditions for sunlight and moisture are met. At least, this applies when you want it to grow spontaneously. You can always plant it in your garden to make it feel softer and more tranquil.

It’s one of the more tenacious kinds of plants, so you don’t have to worry about maintaining it much. You can place moss on rocks and brick details to soften them and create a more relaxing atmosphere. The softness of moss gives it an ideal edge over other plants in your Zen garden. Any rough surface can be made more comfortable with the introduction of moss, so consider applying it wherever you can. It can be a great counterpoint to the less natural aspects of your garden.

Moss doesn’t require a lot of resources of sunlight to grow, so you’ll have no problem adding it in the slightly more barren places in your garden. It can replace the flowers underneath a tree or grow in poor soil instead of grass. Make a yoga mat out of a moss surface and enjoy being able to relax and stretch in your completely garden yoga studio.

Create the ideal comfort zone

What traits would describe your dream Zen garden? Comfort would probably be one of the traits on top of the list. Speaking of how moss can make your garden feel more comfortable, you should also introduce some actual comfortable elements that you can enjoy throughout the day.

If you want to be able to relax and unwind in your Zen refuge, you need a nice place to sit down. If you aren’t a big fan of spending time on the ground, you’ll need some seating. Garden furniture is plentiful and full of variety, but not all of it can fit well in your special Zen place.

When it comes to Zen garden furniture, you want to go natural. It should be made up of naturally-occurring materials like wood to provide you with the ideal feel while you’re resting on it. If you were previously considering a more horizontal kind of resting option, a hammock would also be worth considering. You can sit back and read a good book in your personal relaxing oasis without a worry in the world. With a hammock, you can even catch some shut-eye on a good day.

Provide some proper shade

There’s no sight that’s quite as pleasant as seeing the sun come out after enduring a long winter. The warmth allows you to enjoy the great outdoors and the many blooming plants that come with warmer weather. There’s also the benefit of being able to work on and enjoy your garden as much as you’d like.

However, once summer starts hitting its peak, you might find it difficult to relax and enjoy yourself. It can get extremely hot during particularly harsh summers, especially around noon or so. During this time, you won’t be very glad that the sun is out. It might even make it harder to enjoy your special garden.

The good news is that you can reduce the sun’s impact on your garden by introducing some convenient shade. There are lots of different kinds of shading solutions out there, so you’ll hardly ever run out of options. You should consider starting with what nature provides you. Trees are the most convenient kind of natural shading. Their leaves block out the sun and make it much more comfortable to spend time underneath them, while also cooling the surrounding area a tiny bit. At the same time, they don’t block out too much sunlight and plants like moss can still thrive underneath them.

If you don’t want a tree to take up a lot of space in your garden, you can always go for tasteful artificial solutions. A parasol or shade sail could help you keep cool during the hottest days of summer, and you can remove them when the weather allows for it again.

Plant low-maintenance foliage

Every Zen garden should be filled to the brim with lush and attractive greenery. You want to be in a completely natural environment that makes you feel calm and tranquil. For this, you’ll need lots and lots of soothing foliage.

There’s no rule that says you have to choose high-maintenance plants for your Zen refuge. You can choose some simple plants and foliage that aren’t difficult to water or trim and save yourself a lot of time on gardening. You want your garden to be a place that you can relax in, not a place that requires your constant, undivided attention. The more spare time you have, the better.

Instead of choosing exotic plants that need special soil and maintenance, you should plant local greenery and shrubs in your garden. With some simple plants, you won’t need to put in much time in your garden, and you’ll be able to relax more.

When your garden isn’t very high-maintenance, taking care of it becomes less of a chore and more of a relaxing activity. You don’t need to do a lot of shovelling, weeding, or fertilizing, so it comes down to the basics, which are the most Zen aspects of gardening itself. You make some tea, grab your tough gardening gloves, and start working the plants the way you like them. There’s a reason people see gardening as a relaxing activity. It brings you closer to nature and allows you to get in touch with your natural side. Plus, you nurture other living things and see them grow.

Make it private

One of the downsides of spending time in your garden is that you’re never completely out of sight and out of mind. There’s usually someone like a neighbour that has a view directly toward your garden, making it slightly less private and personal. To create the ideal Zen experience, you want to create a sense of isolation from the outside world, where you can relax and unwind. This is something that is pretty easily achieved using natural methods.

You don’t have to create a ten-foot-tall fence to make your garden feel more private. You can always utilize shrubs and bushes to create a natural barrier between your garden and the outside world. Plants like Arborvitae are great for walling off your garden and adding a bit more privacy. You don’t have to grow the plant from a seed, either. You can buy medium-sized arborvitae and watch them quickly grow into a natural green wall that protects you Zen refuge from prying eyes. You can then meditate or do Yoga in peace without worrying about anyone watching.


Creating the ideal Zen garden requires a bit of effort. You need to introduce equal parts comfort, nature, and spiritual relaxation to create the right kind of atmosphere to soothe your mind. The good news is that there are many tried-and-tested ways that can help you mould your garden into the perfect Zen haven.

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