How to Design Your Backyard for a Zen Sanctuary
But … What is Zen?Traditionally, a Zen garden is one of white stones wherein the stones are swirled into a unique design. To give you a brief historical background of the term “Zen”, we go to 12th century Japan. Mahayana Buddhism made its way to Japan in the 12 Century C.E. “Zen” is the Japansese word for “Dhyana” (meditation). Therefore, the term “Zen” is of Japanese origin. While its origins are steeped in the history of Buddhism, it has become a widely used term around the world. You will see why as you scroll down to view the images of Zen sanctuaries.
Zen teaches that all humans have the capacity to attain enlightenment because we all have an inherent Buddha-nature; indeed, we are all already enlightened beings, but our true potential has been clouded by ignorance. According to some Zen traditions, this ignorance is overcome through a sudden breakthrough — called satori — during meditation in which the true nature of reality, and our experience of it, is revealed. VIA Patheos
How Zen Design ManifestsIt is widely accepted that Zen design is about natural colors in soft tones that induce relaxation and feelings of serenity. It also refers to the elements in a design space that flow visually from one part of the space to the other. The design is one that evokes a calm and centered mind free from confusion. It thereby frees your mind from unnecessary distractions and allows you to see the true reality in a given situation.
Fountains of Water for Your SanctuaryThere’s nothing more soothing than flowing water for your sanctuary. While a Japanese water garden is something else, to enhance your Zen garden, try adding a simple fountain to an area of your backyard sanctuary. Keep the design of your water fountain simple to stay balanced with the rest of your Zen design.
Thought Provoking StatuaryFrom the traditional statutes of Buddha to a small Pagoda to a statue of whatever makes you feel good, there are many from which to choose. The design direction is to keep it simple and make it an understatement that melds with and enhances your entire sanctuary design.
Pergolas Add a Special TouchPergolas, with their open air and lattice roofs, are a wonderful addition to any sanctuary. They can be used as shelters, walkways, and on open terraces. The word “Pergola” is derived from the Latin word, “Pergula” which refers to the projected eaves that you will find on most of these type of structures. From small to large, they are a versatile and artistic piece to include in your sanctuary design.
Add a Symbolic Koi PondIf you have the room in your sanctuary, add a Koi pond as a symbol of courage and a constant reminder of the enduring motion of life.
According to Japanese legend, if a koi fish succeeded in climbing the falls at a point called Dragon Gate on the Yellow River, it would be transformed into a dragon. Based on that legend, it became a symbol of worldly aspiration and advancement. VIA Koi Pond Guide