Cre­ate your own Zen gar­den

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

Gar­dens have long pro­vided the quiet refuge that many seek. For many, Zen gar­dens rep­re­sent the ul­ti­mate tran­quil gar­den.

Zen gar­dens were orig­i­nally pop­u­larised dur­ing the Muro­machi pe­riod which spanned 1336 through 1573 in Ja­pan. They were com­monly used for med­i­ta­tion at Bud­dhist tem­ples and were meant to be viewed from a sin­gle view­point out­side the gar­den at the head monk's tem­ple or monastery.

The main prin­ci­ple be­hind Zen gar­dens is that they should re­flect the fea­tures of a nat­u­ral land­scape through the use of care­fully ar­ranged el­e­ments such as rocks, moss, trees, shrubs and light coloured sand, which can be raked to rep­re­sent rip­pling wa­ter. Zen gar­dens are usu­ally fairly small, can be con­tained by a wall of sorts and gen­er­ally re­quire lit­tle in the way of wa­ter and main­te­nance, which makes them ideal for the smaller prop­er­ties that are in vogue to­day.

Be­fore you in­stall a Zen gar­den, con­sider whether or not it will add value to your home. Zen gar­dens don't ap­peal to ev­ery­one and if it doesn't gel with the rest of your house, could af­fect its saleabil­ity. That said, if done well and co­he­sively, Zen gar­dens can also make a home stand out and ap­peal to those on the look­out for some­thing unique.

Should the pros out­weigh the cons, con­sider the fol­low­ing guide­lines:

Step 1: Choose a quiet area of your gar­den that you think would be best suited to a fea­ture of this na­ture. A flat cor­ner next to a wall would prob­a­bly work best. Mea­sure and mark out the area with stones and dig out the bor­der ac­cord­ingly. Re­move any plants or grass and line your in­tended area with weed mat­ting. The last thing you want is to con­stantly dis­turb your care­fully raked Zen gar­den be­cause you have to pull out weeds.

Step 2: Se­lect the type of ma­te­rial you want to use to cre­ate a low "wall" or bor­der around your gar­den. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, hedges and other liv­ing fences don't lend them­selves to tra­di­tional, "dry" Zen gar­dens. A sim­ple, low wooden fence con­structed from pal­let wood, bam­boo, nat­u­ral rock or stones should suf­fice. Whether you want your gar­den to blend in or stand com­pletely apart from the rest of your gar­den will also in­flu­ence the type of ma­te­rial you use.

Step 3: Once you've con­structed your wall / bor­der, clear the area of de­bris and fill it with a light, nat­u­ral coloured sand. The sand should be fine enough to hold lines and de­signs once raked, so test it first be­fore you buy it. Light, nat­u­ral coloured sand is also best as it em­u­lates the feel­ing of calm and tran­quil­lity as­so­ci­ated with such gar­dens. Once you've filled your des­ig­nated area with enough sand, rake it out to the de­sired depth.

Step 4: Mark out the points in your gar­den you wish to make fo­cal points. Now would be a good time to sit qui­etly op­po­site your gar­den and care­fully con­sider what area "speaks" to you and what you would like to see there. Tra­di­tional el­e­ments in­clude rocks, small trees, shrubs, ferns and mosses. Mod­ern Zen gar­dens fea­ture con­tem­po­rary art­works, lanterns, Bud­dhist stat­ues, walk­ways and wa­ter fea­tures. The choice is yours, re­ally. What­ever you choose, try to in­cor­po­rate el­e­ments around which you can eas­ily rake the sand and try not to clut­ter up the area too much. If you do in­clude plants, make sure you pre­pare the soil ac­cord­ingly and wa­ter them well.

Step 5: Once you've laid out your Zen gar­den and in­cor­po­rated the var­i­ous el­e­ments, use a good qual­ity rake to cre­ate the de­signs you want to see in the sand. The lines can be clean and straight or swirl around your fo­cal el­e­ments in homage to rip­pling wa­ter. Again, the choice is en­tirely up to you. Just take the time to cre­ate the de­sign you want and ab­sorb the sim­ple plea­sure and tran­quil­lity of be­ing out­side and close to na­ture. Af­ter all, that's what Zen gar­dens are all about.

www.pri­vateprop­erty.co.za

Just take the time to cre­ate the de­sign you want and ab­sorb the sim­ple plea­sure and tran­quil­lity of na­ture.

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