At one with Nature: Creating a meditation garden
Creating a meditation garden
We all need somewhere to unwind and de-stress, for most of us, that place is our garden. The act of gardening itself relaxes and calms us, so it is no wonder that we turn to that same place for a reset when we need one. In these days of go, go, go we suffer from more self-imposed stress than the generations before us. With so much running through our minds taking time to slow down and meditate in nature is a luxury that more of us should be embracing.
You don’t have to chant or belong to any religion to meditate, you just need yourself and a peaceful spot. Somewhere to focus on your personal intentions, a place to practice mindfulness and clear your thoughts. There is no better location to disconnect with the outside world than the garden.
If you’ve been wondering how to create a meditation garden, relax you don't need to follow set rules or instructions. The space need only be one that you find calming.
There are several features you can incorporate into a meditation garden; your job is to find those that suit your needs. Ask yourself, 'What am I going to use this space for? Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi or just for pure aesthetic enjoyment?' Then get ideas from different meditation gardens around the world. Buddhist gardens and those from Japan, China, and the Middle East are a good place to start. Once your begin to pinpoint what styles appeal to you, the fun can start! It's time to decide what aspects you want to incorporate into your garden.
Design elements and ideas Secret garden: Is this part of the garden going to be separated from the rest? Will you want to have a private, enclosed space or an open-air space viewable from the entire garden? Separation can be incorporated through the use of trellises, bamboo branches, trees or shrubs, curtains, etc.
Size: How much space do you need for your garden? Deciding this early on will help you with your planting decisions and design creation.
Winding paths: Paths symbolize a journey, maybe even the path to finding yourself. Perhaps you would like to have a winding path leading to your garden to give you a sense of arrival when your reach this special space.
Running water: Waterfalls, ponds or fountains can provide a peaceful white noise to drown out traffic or neighbourhood noise. The sound of water is very calming and is often used as a background in meditations.
Simplicity: Meditation gardens typically are not busy or overwhelming since their intent is to create peace. Designs often use a pergola or platform to create a defined meditation space. Benches, chairs or cushions can also be used. Clean lines and the use of rocks or pebbles is another common aspect. The garden should have a smooth flowing design and be situated so that it is easily viewable from where you will be meditating.
Plants: Plants are positioned to provide inspiration, and are often aligned to create a peaceful viewpoint. Asian shrub and tree varieties are great choices. You can design a garden for every season through careful plant selection.
Colour: Colours are used to create a mood. Green soothes emotions and decreases stress. Blue is used to create a calm, protective and relaxing environment. Red is physical and energizing, while orange and yellow help to lift the spirit. Dark tones are relaxing but can also deaden emotions. White gives one a feeling of freedom but also of isolation and therefore is not found in many formal mediation gardens. Regardless of what the colours supposedly mean, this is your space and you need to plant what makes you feel at peace with nature.
Like most gardens, meditation gardens use key elements such as balance (plants of similar size or texture) and unity (repeating plant materials) in their design. Whatever you do, do it mindfully and enjoy. Namaste.
A meditation garden isn't necessarily just for meditation – it's a place to slow down and catch your breath.
Stones represent the eternal or truth. Historically they represented individual spirits or silent beings.
Simple, soft lines are less disruptive to our senses.
Balance and unity can help to create a calming effect.