If you own a house that has a backyard, you are richer in many ways than people whose house does not have any kind of a yard. People lack a proper backyard space in numerous London suburbs, so their real estate is definitely worth less. This is because the backyard has a multitude of functions, the most important of which is relaxation. Yes, unless you are a sports freak, you are probably going to try transforming your backyard into an oasis of peace. In fact, it is an ideal location for practicing Zen Buddhism that is all about self-control and meditation with the goal of getting to know your inner self. We could all agree that this is something quite desirable in this fast-paced, alienated world we live in today. Your path to true relaxation begins in the bliss of a “Zen-friendly” backyard.
Finding an Inspirational Theme
In order to get into the right mood for meditation, you first have to enter the right surroundings. Think of your backyard as of a personal Garden of Eden where everything should be ideal. In most cases, this implies a lot of greenery, like trimmed shrubs or colourful flowers. If you don’t like Orient-like designs, you can always change the theme of the backyard. It can be made to resemble a Roman patio or you can adopt a Gothic style if that is your thing. If you prefer a more modern and conventional style, then an English landscape garden would do just fine.
If you want to stay true to Zen philosophy, then you are going to go for a Japanese rock garden. As it is stated in its name, there should be rock and boulder formations around the backyard, that are there to imitate mountain chains, as found in Japan. This is no wonder, since “zen” is originally a Japanese word. Furthermore, no Japanese garden would be complete without sand or gravel area. The latter are mostly build into pathways, while the former can be poured around water features, which are another trademark feature of a typical Zen garden.
Introducing Water Features
No backyard would be complete without a proper water source. We are not talking about that rusty tap provided by the council years ago but a functional waterworks addition that would bring the whole space to life. Everyone’s favourite is the fountain that can be purchased ready-made from a DIY store. There are numerous models to choose from so you will fit it easy to the desired garden style. If the drain is far away from the water source, you can even create a streamlet running from the fountain that would resemble a river. Use some old stones that you have unearthed in the vicinity to create artificial banks. Also, you can use plastic bags to create small ponds that would be fed by this stream and possibly stocked with fish. In reality, the design possibilities are endless once you secure a backyard water source.
Maintaining a Garden Space
Many people wrongly assume that a backyard equals a garden. Although this is true in some cases, most backyards don’t have a garden inside, merely some foliage. As we have stated earlier, in order to relax you need to be surrounded by a lot of greenery. However, all the trees, shrubs, and flowers need to be maintained regularly so your garden will look orderly. Chaos has no room in your Zen space so make sure you trim the hedges regularly. This requires getting the right tools for the jobs, such as gloves, pruners, snips and gardening shears that all need to be good-quality in order not to invest in them several times. Quality is an essential value in Zen Buddhism, so make sure you transfer it to inanimate objects in your backyard garden.
Going for Simplicity
You want to feel comfortable inside your backyard but that does not imply opulence of any kind. Simplicity is the keyword for any Zen space. This means that all features should be focused, composed, and most importantly, confined to the designated area. If you put enough effort into it, you can create magical space in your backyard. This is true both for sprucing up the greenery, as well as getting rid of clutter. There shouldn’t be things like newspaper, sunglasses or keys lying around, as each item should have a place where it belongs. In a meditation garden less is more, so make sure to arrange things as simple as possible.
Secret Feature: Bamboo
Decorative plants, ponds, and fountains are all nice but the best floral features you can introduce in your backyard are bamboo elements. They alone have the possibility to introduce Zen to the back door to your home, no pun intended. Bamboo is both sturdy, because of its deep roots but at the same time light enough to sway in the wind and produce a calming sound. It bends without breaking, which is a concept at the heart of Zen philosophy. Bamboo is the ideal building material for fencing inside the garden that can subtly create separate areas inside the backyard. Pruning bamboo can be difficult at times but if you take our advice to tool up, then your bamboo features will last for a long time.
Creating backyard bliss is easier than you think. All the measures listed here are cost-effective and they require mostly goodwill, which is where the path to true Zen serenity actually begins.
By Sarah Jessica Smith
Sarah is a young blogger from Sydney. She is in love with life and all the things that can make her daily routine easier. She loves to write about home improvement, lifestyle, and all the small things that make life such a great adventure.
Feature Image by Yogesh Kumar-972807-unsplash