17+ Zen Garden Ideas That Relax Your Mind

zen garden design

Get inspired with our authentic Zen garden ideas

For those of you looking to create classical Zen gardens…you won’t regret it. A space for contemplation, they are a great place to reflect on your sense of wellbeing, reduce the stresses in your life and focus your mind. The benefits are time served and well established. Japanese gardening is very different to what we understand in the west. In this post, we will be showing you some Zen garden ideas that will help you create yours.

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17+ Zen Garden Ideas That Relax Your Mind

Firstly, let us establish what a Zen garden is and what it is not. Many people incorrectly refer to Japanese garden design as ‘Zen’. This is not true, there is an absolute difference with clear rules for Zen gardens in place.

Zen garden design

A classic Zen garden is an aid to meditation that were first created by monks. They are carefully controlled settings which feature natural elements like raked sand, larger stones, raked gravel, large rocks, natural stone, pebbles and shrubs. These all form part of the landscape design.

Zen gardens are a place that encourage introspection and meditation. The aim is to rake the colored sand in circular motions or in a pattern, to represent the sea. The stones too are a representation, they represent trees if they are placed upright, or if they are placed flat like stepping stones, they represent the sea.

Zen gardening is not your traditional gardening experience, there is an element of mindfulness. A time to contemplate and reflect. Therefore, the essence of a traditional Zen garden is about creation rather than landscaping. Taking time out to rake the white gravel of the dry landscape is a wonderful escape.

Zen garden ideas for small spaces

What if you don’t have the room in your outdoor space? A mini Zen garden is perfectly possible since it is the action that is important. Having a miniature Zen garden does not detract from the experience. They all serve the same purpose. There is a wide spectrum when it comes to Japanese garden ideas.

Even if you do have space, a small Zen garden is more than enough. It simply means that you have more room to layout your space.

As you will see in the images below, water is not present in a Japanese Zen garden, so no water feature is to be found here. In some images, you will find things like a koi pond, heavily featuring koi fish, this is not a Zen rock garden, rather a more traditional Japanese garden. It is important to recognize the difference since the ethos is different. You may also want to consider air plant display ideas.

However, it is possible to create a Zen Japanese garden that is a takes the best of a outdoor Zen garden and a more common Japanese stone garden. These tend to be more visually orientated, including things like a buddha statue, stone lantern as well as other things you won’t see is a classic Zen garden.

So, let’s take a look at some examples of DIY Zen garden images which will give you a great starting point.

zen garden ideas
Zen garden ideas

Our zen garden design images will leave you inspired

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What do you put in a Zen garden?

Japanese Zen gardens are based on simplicity since they are there for meditation and reflection. They simply consist of sand or gravel, rocks of varying sizes and some basic shrubs that are small and well maintained. It is a different type of Japanese gardening.

What is the point of a Zen garden?

Calmness, introspection and meditation are the point of a Japanese rock garden. You should feel very tranquil while you recreate the essence of nature.

How do you design a Zen garden?

Many people start introducing things such as ponds into Zen gardens but this is going beyond the principles. Japanese Zen gardens are based on their simplicity. Sand or gravel, rocks and basic shrubs are all you need with this landscape design. Japanese garden ideas are very different.

Why are Zen gardens relaxing?

When you go through the motions of brushing the sand, cleaning the area, and then creating patterns and swirls, you free your mind to meditate at the same time. This repeated cycle develops your calmness and promotes introspection.

What kind of sand do you use in a Zen garden?

Although sand is used, the majority of gardens contain very fine gravel. This is because it is less likely to be disturbed by the wind and rain.

What plants are in a Zen garden?

The plants in a zen garden are very focused and well maintained. Plants such as conifers, bamboos, nandina are very common.

I hope that you have found some inspiration from our Zen garden images. Remember, that they are purposefully simple so what better way than to separate a small section of your garden and turn it into a meditation space. A place for calmness and reflection.

zen garden ideas
Zen garden ideas

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