How to Create a Zen Design for Your Backyard Sanctuary

Zen design when used in your backyard garden change your days from stressed to relaxed. Generally speaking, when your backyard is Zen, it means that design which is conducive to a serene, meditative environment. I think there is more to it than that, however, so let’s delve into what Zen design means in your backyard garden. (Click on an image to see its source.)

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 Manifests

It 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.

So, it naturally follows that a this design is one in which you escape from the fast-pace of modern life. Along these same lines, its purpose is to soothe and calm your senses while it evokes a freely creative thought process full of joy. It’s a backyard where stones, greenery, and space are the primary design elements of choice. Your Zen garden might be a section that is away from the rest of the yard and gives a respite for quiet reflection.

Other elements to design into your new space are sand, pebbles, and rocks to clear and balance the senses. Add the soothing essense of water with fountains, small streams, or waterfalls. Keep the greenery simple, trimmmed and lush to add to calm your senses and a touch of colorful delight.

Fountains of Water for Your Sanctuary

There’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 Statuary

From 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 Touch

Pergolas, with their open air and lattice roofs, are a wonderful addition to any sanctuary. They can be used as shelters, walk-ways, 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 Pond

If 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

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