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5 Ways to Bring Zen to Your Garden
By Sally Perkins, Freelance Writer


Water, rocks, wood or stone seating, statues and Japanese plants and shrubs are all elements that help a garden reflect a Zen environment like this one in Boise, Idaho, created by Terry Sims of The Garden Artist Inc.

During the summer months, we all love to spend time outdoors. Whether we are planning a quiet afternoon with a book or a major gathering of family and friends, it is far nicer to do so in the garden when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. Yet while we spend time and effort making our living rooms just right, the garden seldom gets more than a plastic table and chairs.

Why not make the best use of your outdoor living space by making it as homey as any other room? It is easy to add a little Zen to your garden, and create a beautiful, relaxing environment, which doesn't have to cost a fortune. Here are five ideas to make your garden into your own personal oasis.

Think Zen and you probably think water features. There is nothing like the sight, sound and smell of fresh running water to create a calm and tranquil atmosphere. There is a whole variety of options, depending on budget and available space, from a fishpond with some colorful koi to a simple tabletop fountain that you can buy online.

Another staple of the Zen concept, the rock garden is easy to create and works in gardens of all sizes. A key to making it attractive is to remember the minimalist concept that underpins Japanese gardens, so take a "less is more" approach for the best results.

Those plastic chairs have got to go. Hand crafted benches look great, and are available in a variety of woods. Or for something a little different, how about some that are made of stone? You can always include cushions to make them more comfortable.

Plants and Shrubs
Of course, the main decoration in most gardens is what you have growing in the beds, so think about the shrubs and plants that will go best with your overall exterior decor. For a typical Japanese Zen look, you can't beat the traditional bonsai tree, while bamboo and water irises also add to the theme.

Nothing says Zen like a Buddha statue or two, and they can provide the perfect finishing touch. Leave these till last, though, so you can see how they will fit with everything else, and don't go overboard with them or the garden will look more like an amusement park. Less is more, remember!

Enjoy Your Extra Room
The garden is often the room that we all forget. Treat yours to a Zen makeover this weekend, and turn it into a living space that everyone will enjoy.

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August 24, 2019, 10:38 pm PDT

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