Zen garden design ideas, inspiration & pictures

What are zen gardens and where do they come from?

Feng shui underpins every zen garden, which is why they are sometimes also known as Japanese gardens, and seeks to teach the art of reaching an intrinsic peace and harmony. Put that way, it makes perfect sense that gardens and feng shui go hand-in-hand, as a well crafted outdoor space can add a genuine sense of calm and peace to any property and it’s residents. A zen garden is a visual representation of the principles of feng shui, out in the great outdoors, so which elements are essential?

Firstly, you don’t have to have a large garden to create a zen space, as they can even work in tiny front gardens. Feng shui draws positive energy towards a location, regardless of proportions. All you need is a good understanding of your garden’s energy flow, which is an extension of the vibe running thorugh your home.

The tools that you’ll need to create a zen garden are the same as those used inside a home, to keep the feng shui flowing.

Certain colours are linked to feng shui elemental theory, so developing an understanding of this will help you to choose plants in the most appropriate hues.

Which materials should I use in a zen garden?

As with any spiritual design concept, there are a number of motifs to you should seek to include in your zen garden, if you really want to maximise the look and effect. For the ultimate in zen garden designs, these will include:

A metal sculpture of a turtle in the north part of your garden.

Wind chimes.

Lots of natural wood.

Natural grasses, such as bamboo, which keep positive energy flowing.

Glass, to reflect good energy.

Metal to revive a stagnant area.

Natural fabrics, such as wool and silk. Anything synthetic will have a negative impact, so focus on flowing organic fibres.

Glazed ceramics, to help reflect positivity.

Natural stone. Polished stones will help reflect good energy, whereas rougher surfaces will scatter it and spread it wide.

Mirrored surfaces, including water, are a wonderful choice for any zen garden

It’s worth noting here that you should avoid synthetic materials at all costs, as they zap positive energy from every crevice of a garden.

Should I be including specific plants?

Zen garden design ideas are so often defined by the plant varieties that are found in them and, unsurprisingly, many of the most popular choices are eastern in origin. As you’ll see, beautiful aesthetics play an important role in a zen garden, but invigorating scents and regenerative life cycles are key as well. To really capture the right look, your landscape architect will definitely recommend these blooms:



Maple Tree











Pine Tree



How do I maintain a zen garden?

One of the things that makes zen garden design so unique is the fact that maintaining these special spaces is part of the joy! Raking your natural stones will help to focus your mind and bring about a sense of calm and well being, but there are a few other tasks to stay on top f as well, including:

Clearing up after animals and pets. Waste will really impact on the positive energy.

Regular weeding is essential. Though it will take a long time for weeds to surface, through all the natural stone, they will grow through eventually, so you need to pluck them when they do.

Remove any and all clutter, such as gardening tools and gloves. Also, be sure to keep your household rubbish hidden out of sight.

Keep watering pattern consistent

Fertilize your flowerbeds regularly, to keep the life energy topped up.

Can I create an indoor zen garden?

If you don’t have any outdoor space to play with, you might be interested to know that a mini zen garden is more than possible, for the inside of your home! More than that, they are becoming exceptionally popular in commercial spaces as well, with employers seeking to create relaxing displays in offices throughout the world.

If you want to create an indoor zen garden of your own, the two most basic ingredients of a zen garden are sand, which represents the ocean, and stones that represent islands or mountains. Once you have these in your possession, you can create your zen container garden by using this technique:

Fill a wide bowl with white sand, before adding decorative touches, such as small stones and glass rocks. Be sure to leave enough space to draw designs in the sand though. It’s not traditional to add plants, but if you want to, for aesthetic purposes, you can!

Choose a positive location in which to place your new garden and enjoy the effect it has on your mood and your home.

If you are interested in other types of gardens, have a look here