Zen Garden

Busy Life?

For those with hectic personal and professional schedules, it can be difficult to find a relaxing moment of peace and quiet. However, maintaining a balance between your ambitious and tranquil sides is vital to leading a healthy and happy life. Housewarming plants can help improve your mood when you come home from work. However, if you're on the lookout for a private space to escape from the pressures of the outside world, consider the benefits of designing a meditation garden in your own backyard.

According to the University of Minnesota's Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series, gardens have played a vital role in supplementing mental and physical health throughout history. Japanese Zen Gardens and Monastic Cloister gardens have provided Eastern and Western cultures a quiet retreat for study and self reflection for generations.

The Benefits

In more recent times, research has shown a positive link between nature and personal wellbeing. A study by the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University found that "viewing natural scenes or elements fosters stress recovery by evoking positive feelings, reducing negative emotions, effectively holding attention / interest and blocking or reducing stressful thoughts. When viewing vegetation as opposed to urban scenes, test subjects exhibited lower alpha rates which are associated with being wakefully relaxed." This scientific link brings further credence to practices like bringing sick relatives condolence plants.

How to Make Your Own Meditation Garden

When designing a meditation garden for your home, it's important to select plants that possess a therapeutic quality that speaks to you. Medicinal plants such as aloe, chamomile and lavender can help reinforce the healing aesthetic of the space. Flowers that are colorful and fragrant will allow the garden to engage your senses on multiple levels. If you live in a busy neighborhood, tall trees act as a natural shield to keep your space private and serene. Depending on your gardening skill, you may want to select plant species that are easy to care for in order to keep the garden looking pristine with the least amount of effort.

Beyond plant life, your healing garden must engage you on a human level as well. HGTV.com recommends creating a stone path that leads to a central meditation area that features space for a wooden bench or yoga mat. Some decorative elements like a bubbling water fountain and pieces of outdoor art will add to the peaceful element of the garden and candle lanterns allow for evening or nighttime use.

With some creativity and planning, you'll soon have soothing meditation garden to enjoy during those days when you just need a break from it all.