With long commutes being a way of life here in the Atlanta metro, having a serene place at home is a great way to reduce stress. The evening commute after being late on those darn TPS reports and finding out someone stole your stapler (again) is certainly no good for your blood pressure. But what if you could escape into a secluded oasis with trickling water, a sense of balance, and inspirational structure

You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to appreciate a meditation garden. In fact, a meditation garden can be made in any landscape style of your choosing!  Japanese, contemporary, english, cottage, colonial…absolutely anything. Some styles do lend themselves more naturally to creating meditation gardens, but they will all produce wonderful results with enough consideration given to these key elements:

  • Isolation. In our suburbs, naturally isolated garden areas are few and far between, so if you plan on creating your personal space at home, be ready for some work. There are several ways to isolate a garden space effectively from the sounds and sights of nearby roads or busy neighbors. If you don’t want to build a fence or berm, tall hedges, bamboo groves, and dwarf trees make excellent barriers. Ultimately, anything that produces a clear sense of separateness can serve as a barrier to isolate your meditation garden from the rest of the world.

  • Unity of Design. The design of any pleasing landscape ought to include some unifying theme or style, but this is especially important when creating a meditation garden. This is a space where you should feel focused and at ease. A haphazard design can cause feelings of unease, or other distractions that would disrupt anyone’s alone time. 

  • Sensitive Surfaces. Consider what surfaces in a meditation garden that you will find yourself walking, sitting, or laying on. Do you want them to be hard or soft? Silent (like mossy stone), loud (like gravel) or somewhere in between (like sand)? Also, think about the temperature these surfaces will reach during hot days. Any surface you use will have a unique feel that needs to be comfortable to you. Don’t allow yourself to be constrained by the style of garden you’ve chosen either. With the right amount of creativity you can bring almost any medium into the construction of your garden.

  • Grand Entrance. The central element of your meditation garden should be the first thing you see when you enter this space, whether it’s a Japanese Maple, a bubbling waterfall, or a raked sand box. Positioning this powerful imagery directly in front of the entrance will amplify the sensation of entering a new and separate space, allowing you to relax more quickly.

  • Make it Easy. Your meditation garden should be a place reserved for quiet reflection, not grueling toil. If you create a high maintenance space you will find yourself working in it as often as enjoying it. A few special plant specimens (or even none at all) can prevent you from associating this space with weekend labor, preserving the tranquility you desire.