Your garden, if it’s anything like mine, is a powerful source of downtime. It’s a place where one can hermit-ize themselves from the outdoor world and refuel, taking time to reflect and refocus my thoughts.

A meditation garden is a place of refuge from the world

There have been many times when life has countered some body blows and I’ve found that an hour sitting in my garden has completely altered my perspective on the situation.

And as I’ve reflected on what parts of the garden aid this meditative process I’ve since found that there are a number of design elements that work for me, and you may find work for you and your garden as well.
Before I disclose them, it might be worth mentioning that I’m not talking about zen gardens, feng shui or creating your garden as some shrine to a little known god. I’m talking more about designing a garden that helps you to stop and ‘smell the roses’ – so to speak – and being able to collect your thoughts in a safe refuge.

Elements of a Meditation Garden

So how do you go about creating it? Here are some elements that I find work really well;

  1. Shade – perhaps it’s just because I’m a gloomy person that I prefer to sit in darkness. Not really. It’s the dappled shade and the way a tree canopy can filter light and dynamically alter it via its movement that seems to work.
  2. No visible fences – its not possible for most gardeners to remove their boundaries and cast their eyes over the rolling hills. However, it is possible to completely cover your fences with living plants so that they can’t be seen. I find this is a big part of being able to reflect in your garden is to feel that there are no limitations to your refuge world.
  3. Running water – in a meditative garden one of the key elements is to have the sound of water running in the background. This is why many people now include water features in their landscape. It shouldn’t be a gushing waterfall but just a gentle trickle.
  4. Wind chimes – now these are not my idea of a meditative element. In fact, if wind chimes were in my garden I would have throttled them with a hammer within half an hour. But, some people find them very relaxing and enjoy hearing the breeze orchestrate a small symphony in their gardens.
  5. Relaxing chairs – adding some relaxation chairs such as the ever comfortable Adirondack chairs, a banana lounge or a rope hammock can really set the mood and put you in a meditative frame of mind – that is, if you don’t fall asleep.
  6. Add some birds to the setting – you don’t have to create your own aviary to enjoy birds in your garden. Many gardeners choose to tempt the native birdlife by erecting a bird feeder or locating a bird bath for them to preen themselves in. However, their gentleness and unflustered lifestyle can be a real boost for a meditation garden.

So there are a few design elements I’ve known to work for me. There may be others that you find helpful as well and I’d love to hear what other elements you would put in a meditation garden.

Whatever they are the purpose of the garden is to be a mediative refuge where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the outside world and reflect on the things that are wonderful.

Photo source: Sheriff of Nothing