Zen garden: what it is and how to do it

Also known as Karensui Dry Garden or Karesansui , Zen gardens are becoming more and more popular around the world. This style of gardening, originally from Japan, owes the keys to its success to the low maintenance that its gardens need, as well as its pleasant aesthetic impact.

If you want to learn how to create your own Zen garden at home, join us in this article in which we talk about what a Zen garden is and how to do it .

What is a zen garden

The Karesansui , which means arid landscape, are a style of garden with very marked guidelines and rules. They appeared in the 13th century in Japan , when gardeners there embraced the currents of Chinese aesthetics of that time. A feeling of control and moderation is sought in them, with a type of characteristic rocks that symbolize mountains rising up between terrains covered by white sand, although sometimes brown or black sand is used, which represents the ocean or, extensive and calm fields.

This style was quickly adopted by Zen temples , hence these gardens are now commonly called Zen gardens . The Buddhist monks believed that the contemplation of these gardens helped to achieve satori, a concept similar to that of nirvana, a moment of enlightenment. However, dry gardens are not unique to temples and are, in fact, easy to find alongside venues, such as inns and restaurants, and even in homes.

In Zen gardens the raking of the sand is also very important , which must be shallow and represents the curved shapes and rings of the movement of the water.

Zen garden: what it is and how to do it - What is a zen garden

How to make a zen garden

When creating one of these gardens, the most vital thing is to maintain the vision of representing nature from a minimalist point of view . They are gardens that do not need an irrigation source, so they can be adapted from quite large spaces to very small ones and, even, be both outside the home and indoors. To make a zen garden follow these steps:

  1. Find the space for your Zen garden: the important thing to start is to get an idea of ​​the space you want to dedicate to your Zen garden. Delimit it by separating it from the rest of the space with wood or stones, as it is important that the borders of your Karesansui are very clear.
  2. Protect the area and add the sand: Once the space is defined, cover the bottom with a waterproof layer, such as plastic or some garden insulation, and fill the space with gravel or sand. This sand is the base of the garden and what will represent the water of the ocean or the relief of the land. An anti-weed screen will also help keep the garden simple and clean of herbs that we do not want in this area, something essential.
  3. Add the stones: once its borders have been delimited and the basic element has been provided, which is sand, it remains to add the stones. These are placed seeking to represent the relief of mountains in a distant landscape. In this way, both large rocks and smaller ones can be used, as long as they maintain that landscape spirit. In addition, to achieve different effects, they can be placed separately or stacked.
  4. Add moss to your zen garden: mosses are also very important, and they can be placed in some spaces to give a point of color. In fact, there are types of Zen gardens that are based on the use of these.
  5. Decide if you want to put water: the water can be added or not depending on the type of Zen garden that we want to reproduce. Many do not have it at all, while others are home to fountains or ponds.
  6. Avoid excess: the most important thing is never to fall into overloading. If we fill our Zen garden with an excess of rocks, mosses, fountains or statues, we will be breaking the main characteristic of these, which is austerity and simplicity. Focus on that kind of aesthetic, which is clean and simple.
  7. Use the rake in the sand: finally, it is necessary to rake the earth, sand or gravel. Draw concentric rings or curves in the sand that mark the natural movement of your depicted landscape.
Zen garden: what it is and how to do it - How to make a zen garden

Zen garden: benefits of having one at home

There are several benefits of having a Zen garden at home , but we highlight the following:

  • The main benefit of having a Zen garden at home is the relaxing atmosphere it brings. Most fans of this type of gardening go to Zen gardens to relax, meditate or escape, since the contemplation of a well-made one brings harmony, tranquility and balance. There are few better places to practice disciplines like Yoga or Tai Chi, or just to read a book.
  • They are very simple to make and can be placed in practically any space. So much so, that it is also popular to create miniature Zen gardens , in small drawers or centerpieces that can bring a harmonious touch to any room.
  • Last but not least, another benefit of having a garden of this type is the pleasant aesthetic impact of its settings. In most parts of the West we are more used to being carried away by the crowds and the abuse in the decoration, and one of these minimalist and relaxed spaces so typical of Eastern countries is striking and elegant.
Zen garden: what it is and how to do it - Zen garden: benefits of having one at home

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