Zen and the Art of Outdoor Living

A backyard Zen garden offers the best platform for unwinding, yoga, or quiet reflection. Close your eyes, relax, and let the stress melt away in a Zen-inspired space.

water fountain in garden

Achieve beauty, harmony, simplicity, balance, and tranquility on your patio or deck with a DIY Zen garden. Combine natural materials, soothing colors, and a clutter-free design to reach your Zen in your own backyard. This calming garden will be your escape to pure relaxation.

Lay the Groundwork

orange and woven outdoor rugs

Define your mini Zen garden with a rug, such as a water-resistant floor covering with a sisal look. Natural sisal will deteriorate and absorb rainwater, making it so heavy that it could damage your deck or cause it to collapse. Lay a smaller rug or tatami mat on top to define the seating area. Make sure to choose a rug with a calming color scheme to achieve the Zen look.

Add a Little Comfort

outdoor couch with throw pillows and sculpture
Artwork leased from local gallery

A Zen garden design is incomplete without a comfortable place to sit and relax. Add a low table and large, plump pillows covered in easy-care cotton sheets for cushioned seating comfort. Choose furnishings made of natural materials, such as cotton and linen fabrics, bamboo, stone, seashells, wood, earthenware, and metals, in a color palette of earth tones. Concentrate on solid colors rather than patterns.

Appeal to All of the Senses

candles and succulents on tray

Bliss out in your backyard zen garden by playing to your senses. Introduce soft lighting, soothing scents, and restful sounds. Put together an assortment of candles with smooth stones and succulents, such as sedum, in a metal planting tray to complete your Zen garden design. Choose aromatic candles with the calming fragrance of lavender, chamomile, jasmine, or sandalwood.

Incorporate Soothing Plants

various plants in containers on deck

Bring Mother Nature on deck. Decorate rails or benches in your mini Zen garden with plant-filled containers. Choose pots made of natural materials, such as redware and stoneware—simple, shapely extensions of the earth. Mix easy-care flowers, such as petunias, with stunning ornamental grasses and a fragrant herb or two, such as rosemary or myrtle. Your peaceful space is nothing without the beauty of an orchid plant. Moth orchids such as Phalaenopsis Ching Her Golden Princess x P. Ching are the easiest types to grow.

Escape with the Sounds of Zen

gold wind chime hanging off house

Complete your backyard Zen garden with peaceful sounds. For subtle sound effects, incorporate a small fountain or container water feature, or hang wind chimes. You can even add a sound machine to play soothing sounds of ocean waves, singing birds, and calming white noise.

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