Tips for Creating Your Own Zen Outdoor Space

The Japanese “zen garden” is designed using rocks, water, plants, and sand, all carefully designed and placed to promote mindfulness and meditation. As the American Heart Association says, “Spending time in nature can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing.” Unfortunately, not all of us are able to get to “nature” on a regular basis. But if you can’t go to nature, then you can at least bring nature—and its zen—to you.

While you may not be able to recreate an authentic zen garden in your backyard, you can still create your own place of zen, or peace, by following certain principles.

Here are some tips for creating your own zen space, right in your backyard.

Pick a space.

Walk around your backyard and find a space that could be well suited to creating a quiet, peaceful place. Ideally, you want somewhere that is mostly enclosed. It doesn’t have to be a big space; any place with room to sit and think will do. 

Do your research.

Check out examples of other backyard “zen” spaces to help you discover what you like and don’t like. Be sure to take into account what plants will thrive in your climate. Create a short list of must-have elements. 

Keep it simple.

The goal is a calm, peaceful environment, not a cluttered or busy one. You need room to breathe, and you want few distractions. Many authentic zen gardens don’t even include flowers or water in their designs, optimizing for ultimate simplicity and stillness.

Keep your senses in mind.

Think of your senses when designing your zen space. You want what you see, smell, hear, and feel to be pleasant and calming. What can you do to invite that calm into this area?Think about shade, water features (noise), comfortable seating, and so on.

Use natural materials.

What we call “zen gardens” are actually Japanese rock gardens, so named because putting the right rocks in the right places is considered the most important part of a garden’s design. When creating your space, use rocks, bamboo, wood, sand, and other natural materials. This will invite more peace and help you feel more grounded.

Be flexible.

Remember: you’re trying to eliminate stress, not heighten it. Unless you are trying to create an authentic zen garden, there is room for you to experiment and personalize your zen space. Add things that make you happy. Save that space for activities that help you feel peaceful. Make it comfortable and uniquely “you.” It’s your space, after all!

Creating a zen outdoor space doesn’t necessarily mean a huge backyard overhaul. With a few small changes that keep guiding principles in mind, you can have a private space that invites your personal zen. 

Contact Rustic Creek Landscaping today to create your dream outdoor space. We specialize in landscape installation in Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale, and Phoenix.

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