Zen-Garden: Design ideas, inspiration & pictures

How to create your Zen garden?

Zen gardens are inspired by Japanese garden designs. Japanese garden has evolved for over thousand years and gave birth to different styles of gardens like moss garden, tea garden and so on. In the late 8th century a new garden design emerged in the form of rock garden. It was meant to be a place for meditation. These rock gardens eventually gave birth to the modern day Zen gardens.  

Due to their beauty and tranquil atmosphere, Japanese Zen garden design is revered across Canada. Butchart Gardens in Victoria still retains one of the earliest Japanese gardens of the country. It was designed by renowned landscape designer Isaburo Kishida between 1907 and 1912. The Nitobe Garden in Vancouver is another famous Zen garden in Canada. 

If you have ever felt an urge to build a beautiful Japanese style garden in your backyard, it is your chance to do so now. This type of garden design does not demand too much space. You can easily create a peaceful spot to sit down and relax without too much hassle or expenditure. 

To plan such a garden, seek help from an experienced landscape designer who would be able to help you design a charming garden in the available space and within your budget. You will find landscape architects right here on homify. You may also seek help from the reputed garden designers of your city. Be prepared to spend between $30 CAD and $50 CAD per square foot for designing a stylish Zen garden at home. 

You may also design your very own Japanese style garden. For inspirations check our garden design ideas both for your indoor Zen garden and the one on your backyard. The following steps will help you get started: 

- Measure the available space. 

- Design a boxlike mould that fits in the space. You may buy a prefabricated wooden mould or you may design one yourself with the help of natural wood or plywood.  

-Spread a weed control membrane inside the mould. 

- Fill the bottom layer with broken pieces of bricks and stone. 

- Cover this layer with a layer of soil mixed with gravel and fine sand. You may buy soil specifically made for this purpose from a local landscape supply store. 

- Place the potted plants.  

- Cover the pots with another layer of fine sand.  

- Strategically place the larger rocks on sand.   

- Use a wooden rake to draw the ripples around the rocks.  

- If you wish to have moss covered rocks then prepare a mixture of yoghurt and water. Use a brush and cover the stones with this mixture. Sprinkle little water on them for the first two or three weeks.  

- You will find moss growing on them naturally. You may also decorate this area with bonsais, Japanese lanterns or landscape lighting fixtures. 

What materials are needed to create a Zen garden in Canada? 

The following materials are needed to build a Zen garden at home: 

- Bricks and pebbles to prepare the ground.  

- Gravel and horticultural grade sand for the soil. 

- Mulch and very small amount of organic fertiliser. 

- Landscape or weed control membrane for controlling the growth of weed.  

- Small river bed pebbles.  

- Large boulder rocks for the islands. 

- Plants and moss to cover the rocks. The latter is optional.  

- Wooden rakes to create the ripple effect on the gravel bed.  

- Garden lamps for decoration. 

What are the different plants types for a Zen garden in Canada? 

These plant species thrive well in Canadian climate. They are hardy and don’t need too much tending which is a blessing for the busy gardeners like you. Some people also like to have bonsai plants in a Zen garden. If you are designing a mini Zen garden on the terrace or inside the building, potted bonsais could be an ideal choice for you. 

Some of the plants suitable for a Japanese style garden in Canada are: 

- Lonicera nitida  

- Ilex crenata  

- Azalea  

- Heuchera  

- Ophiopogon japonicus  

- Paulownia or Royal Empress  

- Pine  

- Bamboo  

-Common fern species like Pteridium aquilinum 

- Horsetail reeds or Equisetum hyemale  

- Wisteria 

How to maintain a Zen garden?

To maintain the beauty of your garden, you must learn to take care of it properly. The simple tips mentioned below will help you to do so: 

- Remove dead leaves and twigs from your garden every day.  

- At least one every month, remove all the pebbles and rocks and give them a thorough wash. Use a solution of baking soda and water to remove the stains from the rocks.  

- You will be able to remove the loose dust with the help of a brush.  

- Don’t let weeds grow in this space. Root out the unwanted plants. You may also pour boiled water on them and kill them. But don’t hurt yourself or your precious trees in the process. 

- Install garden lighting to illuminate the space after darkness sets in. 

How to create indoor Zen gardens?

Don’t have enough space on your backyard? Don’t worry. You may even design a small Zen garden in your home. Tabletop Zen gardens are a craze nowadays. You can buy a miniature Zen garden in less than $50 CAD. However, if you wish to design it yourself, then follow these steps: 

-Select a spot for your miniature garden. You may utilise a corner of your home office, balcony or the under stair space. 

- Buy a wooden tray or large porcelain bowl.  

- Set a bonsai in one corner of the tray.  

- Fill the tray with fine sand. You may use colour sand.  

- Create islands with the help of polished riverbed pebbles.  

- Depending on the size of your miniature garden, you may opt for a set of stones in varied sizes.  

- Use mini rakes to create the ripples.  

- Decorate the garden with perfumed candles or small lantern.