Stressed? Create a Meditation Garden
Stressed? Create a Meditation Garden
Many homeowners focus on beautiful outdoor spaces specifically for entertaining, which may include a pool area, eating and bar areas set in incredible outdoor kitchens complete with plumbing, cooking and lighting.
But what about creating a garden space just for yourself? What kind of outdoor space would you use? Here are some ways you can create a deeply personal retreat that will support you and ‘fill your bucket’.
Planning Your Meditation Garden
Have you heard of meditation gardens? They are a deeply personal sanctuary – large or tiny – that give you much needed respite from the daily grind.
Pick a spot in your yard that is close enough to the house, so you can easily access it each day. You’ll create a garden room with walls, flooring and décor. This can be as simple or as ornate as you like. Budget is always a consideration, but you’d be surprised at how effective a few thoughtful additions will be.
How will you use the space? Spending time planning will ensure you use it often.
Will you need room for yoga? Block that out first, and start thinking about ground surfaces that are soft, slip-resistant and supportive.
Do you prefer to laze with a good book? Are you limber enough for a low slung hammock, or do you need a straight backed garden chair?
Do you love your daily cup of tea or coffee? Include room for an outdoor table.
This planning process is it’s own meditation. When we take the time to really prioritize and celebrate our needs, it allows us to continue to give to others without facing the dreaded pain of burn out.
Caregivers are especially vulnerable to this. It’s not selfish, it’s self-care and it is important.
High powered executive? Consider this a strategic life decision, part of a comprehensive plan to support more effective decision-making.
Doodle ideas on scratch paper. Research online and save ideas to reuse. Enjoy the process, and know that you’ll be constantly changing, adding, moving, subtracting the elements in this space. This is how a garden works; it's always in motion but grounded in personal meaning.
Build the Walls of Your Outdoor Room with Trees and Shrubs
Draw a map of your space. Is there a close neighbor or unsightly view? Start by introducing a simple screen at the back edge of your private space to create the walls of your room.
Plant an evergreen like Green Giant Arborvitae, which are fast growing and can be planted close together to make a screen in a short period of time. In warmer climates, you may consider using Italian Cypress or even holly plants that have shiny evergreen foliage all year long.
In the short term, use a temporary screen such as a large houseplant or folding screen. Grow vines such as clematis or honeysuckle along a trellis. Visual privacy is important to help you feel safe and let go.
If you have traffic noise, consider adding ornamental grasses that rustle with the slightest breeze. Catch the wind with a windchime. Add a circulating water fountain to add the beautiful sound of water. Save up for a set of noise blocking headphones. Do what you need to give yourself peace.
Mindful Garden Design Includes all Five Senses
Next, select plants that have some meaning for you.
Maybe you have fond memories of your grandmothers Lilacs that you always remembered being so fragrant in her yard. Select some of your favorite Lilacs to use in your new space.
Pick some of your favorites but do keep in mind that plant selection may be dictated by the amount of sun or shade that your new backyard retreat receives. Shady meditation rooms can rely on Hosta and other foliage plants rather than sun-loving flowering plants.
Use our Filters to sort for new selections you may not have considered. This is part of the process, and it’s fun to see all the options. We recently added a “Comparison” feature. You can hover over the Shop Now button and add to favorites or add to a comparison view.
Pick colors that you love. Maybe you are an all-white flower lover and you will select only green plants and white flowers. If you prefer cool, calming flower colors include blues, purples, and green and whites. Select what you like and stick with those colors throughout the space.
Using plants that are of similar colors creates harmony in your new space but contrasting bold colors will energize the space. All of the parts to contribute to the whole. There is no right answer!
Layer Plants Together Using Your Personal Style
Place your favorite plants as the next layer in front of the screening backdrop. Prefer to keep things informal? Include odd numbers of these plants used in curved groups. A more formal approach would be to plant these plants in even and uniform rows to create your outdoor retreat.
Do you want a full-to-bursting cottage garden look? Or do you want to leave “visual space” in carefully groomed Japanese-style garden?
Nature Hills offers plenty of options for perennials and ground covers that work for your area. Read the Plant Highlight Facts to see how large the plants will get. Use large, medium, small and tiny plants to fill the space as full as you’d like.
Don’t forget to include some native plants, pollinators and plants that will produce fruit to attract wildlife to your space. Have you ever just sat and watched butterflies dance around your yard? Include plants that will attract them and beautiful birds, too.
Consider adding plants with different texture and form. It can be very effective to juxtapose different types against each other. Contemplate the differences between velvety Lamb’s Ear and spare, lean and elegant Yucca. Rounded versus elongated. Rough versus soft. Large versus small. Dynamic garden design can whisper to you mysteries of the deep story of life.
Plan a Focal Point For Your Meditation Garden
Now develop a focal point in the area that has the screen of plants in place. Use small rocks to outline the shape of a labyrinth for daily contemplation. Haul in and place a large boulder or create a special sculpture. Bottle trees, bird baths, topiary trees, outdoor sculpture, you name it. Use what speaks to you and brings you joy. This is truly a “no judgement” zone.
Perhaps you have an appreciation for Japanese garden design. Include an interesting weeping form of a colorful tree or a breathtaking Japanese Maple with their evocative, luscious leaves.
Apartment dwellers can use a small Citrus tree in a beautiful container as a wonderful focal point. Take time to study the growing new fruit as a real lesson in change and gratitude. You’ll love enjoying the ripe fruit as a very special treat.
Another focal point could be a small water feature, such as a bubbling rock with a pump that circulates the water. Something as simple as a whiskey barrel sunk into the ground and filled with water and a small pump that creates a bubbling noise. “Pond-less” waterfalls are very popular, where water is pumped over a rock and splashes onto gravel that covers the collection tank and keeps recirculating the water. They are easy to maintain and add the soothing sound of water to your space. There are interesting fountains that can be purchased, filled with water and just plugged in.
Sedge grasses love having their roots in water, and we offer a wide selection of them. They’ll soften the look for you with very little care and they'll thrive in any splash zones.
Set The Scene With Thoughtful Touches
Soft, cushiony surfaces encourage you to slip your shoes off and wiggle your toes. Thick grass, or easy care groundcovers such as English Ivy, Creeping Thyme, or Golden Creeping Jenny can be used (please note that Nature Hills follows regional restrictions for any plant that becomes invasive in your particular zone.)
You’ll want to include a path from your house to the space in your planning. Winding paths can add a delightful sense of anticipation and destination.
If you’ll do yoga in the space, consider building a sturdy platform deck out of splinter-free composite decking. Rugged exterior storage boxes can hold your mat, blocks and other props.
A final suggestion is to include inexpensive lighting. Use solar lights, or add a small transformer and just a few LED lights that will highlight the area, so it can be used after sunset or at sunrise. This can make all of the difference for you when you utilize your new unique space.
Shoot a light upwards from under your Japanese Maple or other shade tree. Add a few pathway lights to take you out to the space and voila! You have just increased the opportunities for you to use your new retreat. Exterior lighting looks great in all seasons, including the winter.
Remember, the design of these areas in your yard do not need to be elaborate or expensive. It just needs to work for you, so that you can enter the space every day, take a few deep breaths and be renewed.
As they say, take time to smell the roses. Study the heart of the rose to gain insight into the natural world. Plants connect us to the past, ground us in the present, and give us hope for the future. We hope you’ll enjoy your fabulous new Meditation Garden!