Zen Gardening 101

By Julia Price

February 24, 2017 4 min read

The world is incredibly hectic -- more so now than ever before because added to the usual hustle and bustle of life are social networks, which constantly seem to demand our attention during what might otherwise be our relaxation time. It can feel as if your brain never gets a second to just chill. On top of all the chaos, people are continuing to move to cities, which can reduce their access to outdoor spaces. This is why it's so important to create a space of Zen and peace, a place where you can just breathe. You may have an entire yard, a small balcony or maybe just a little sun near your windowsill, but regardless of your space, there's always room for serenity.

If you've got a bigger yard, you're one lucky (and soon-to-be relaxed) gal or guy! You can find inspiration from Pinterest, where you'll be able to search different boards to find the most peaceful outdoor palace that you can re-create or customize.

One of the most symbolic displays of harmony is a Buddha. For many people, this type of figure immediately puts them at ease; his teachings were the founding element of Buddhism, after all. Depending on your space limitations, you can purchase a variety of sizes for your very own meditating Buddha. Some great places to start your search are Amazon.com and Lotus Sculpture (great for statues and larger figures). For a range of twists on a classic, head to Etsy and search for "Buddha sculpture."

The Buddha is a great place to start, but let's get to the greenery. If you're new to the plant game, make sure you take photos of your indoor or outdoor space, and then head to your lawn and garden shop and start asking away. It might be best to skip the department stores and chains that offer an outdoor section and instead visit a "mom and pop" type of joint. Generally, the people at that kind of place are able to give you more time and focus.

Depending on your space, you may also want a peaceful spot to sit, and they may be able to direct you to a local carpenter who can craft the perfect wooden benches for your yard. If you're looking for something a little cozier or softer, you can check out lots of different department stores that offer outdoor and patio seating -- weatherproof and simple to put together, if they aren't sold as already assembled items. You can also find great outdoor furniture at Ikea, Restoration Hardware and Overstock.com.

If you'd like to add a water element to your yard (or windowsill), you can shop a wide range of sizes online without even leaving the comfort of your couch. You can find a fountain made of stone that can sit on your nightstand or a large ceramic fountain that can also serve as a part-time bath for birds. And of course, if you want to attract birds, you're going to want to add a bird feeder. Check out Pinterest for some great DIY tips.

Last but certainly not least, without the proper lighting, no matter what you do with your personalized garden space, it will feel a little empty. That's why you can either create your own special lighting by taking on a crafty project or check out Target or Ikea for some well-priced options. You can also skip the intricate lighting setup and go for a simpler option -- candles. That's also a great way to soften your indoor or small outdoor mini-garden space. Just remember to blow them out before you head to bed!

When you are setting up your garden, set the space energetically before you even begin to start physically creating it. That way, when you step into your garden, your mind already goes into relaxation mode and your body and breathing respond. From there, you can pull out a book or simply listen to the wind and let your thoughts drift away, connecting you back to your most natural state.

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