How To Make A Zen Garden In Your Backyard On A Budget

Japanese rock garden, also known as “Zen” is based upon the theory of oneness. It refers to the fact that we are all connected with each other.

If you want to have a break from the hectic pace of our everyday schedule and just want to relax, meditate and explore the raw beauty of nature all around us, then adding a Zen garden in your backyard might be the perfect solution!

The only thing that you need while creating this miniature landscape is your creativity and ability to perceive the world a little bit differently. We got you covered on the budget, don’t worry!

Read along to the rest of this article to learn how to create a Zen garden in your backyard and find a spiritual connection to the nature that’s represented by this wonderful work of art.

How To Make A Mini Zen Garden In Your Backyard?

The beauty of any garden lies in how well-designed it is from the very beginning. And the Zen garden is no exception!

Let’s find out what do you need and which steps you should follow to transform your lawn into a place of relaxation and tranquility.

Necessary Tools For Making Zen Garden

Rocks, Pebbles And Sand

Large rocks represent the mountain and dry landscape. The smaller ones are used for decorative purposes. And you can use sand to imitate the ripple effect of the ocean waves.

Gravels Or Waterfall?

Water is an essential element of Zen, which can be achieved by adding a water fountain or choosing gravels to resemble the shape of a flowing river.

Read Also: Choose A Top Quality Frost Free Sillcock In You Garden

Plants

Keep the plant section to a smaller size and choose to have plants that are low maintenance, like, cactus or succulents etc.

Supplies

You will need shovel, rake, measuring tape and strings while working on your garden. It’s recommended to purchase a wooden rake that's especially used in Zen garden for this purpose.

Steps To Make Mini Zen Garden

Preparation

  • Take a pencil and draw a rough sketch of how you want your lawn to look like on a paper. This will help you start on a good note.
  • Choose the area you want to work on and clear out any unnecessary weeds, plants, grass that’s grown there.
  • Rake the soil and make it as flat as possible.

Place The Largest Elements First

  • Strategically place the large boulders to represent trees, mountain or any form you prefer.
  • Place the extra elements like bridges, lanterns, urns in your lawn.
  • Build a sitting area where you can relax and meditate. 

Install The Water Feature

  • Install a mini-fountain that goes well with the theme you chose to have.
  • Alternatively, you can use big boulders to create a water-like effect on your lawn.
  • Create a spiral pattern using raked sand to represent the ocean.

Plant The Trees

  • Plant the trees on the ground and make sure to trim them to a particular size.
  • You can also use potted flower plants to add color to the scenario.

Lay Pebbles Onto The soil

  • Use small pebbles, crushed stones and mulch to cover the soil.
  • Try using multi-color rocks to match the surroundings.

Zen Garden Tips To Remember

1. Pick The Location Carefully

Select an area where there is a natural wind barrier, as the sands will keep moving and destroy the pattern you have created if there’s too much wind in that place. You can choose a shaded area for this purpose.

2. Place Lights Strategically

The beauty of a Zen garden can also be enjoyed at night only if you remember to place some lights around it. You can also use the Japanese lantern which works both as a source of light as well as a decorative piece.

Amazing Zen Garden Ideas That You'll Love!

The most amazing thing about this Japanese-styled yard is that you get to have your way while decorating it. Whether you are a little short in cash or don’t have a huge space in your home, you can still fit this beauty anywhere you want.

Still having a hard time believing you can do this?

Let’s find you some inspirations from down below!

Zen Garden Ideas For Backyard

1. Make A Canopy Shade

Canopy-Shade

The backyard should be the place where you come to relax, enjoy a cup of hot chai or even go for a quick nap!

To get that serene feeling in your heart, you can cover the entire area with crushed stones and white pebbles of your yard. Add a long bench and plant two tall trees like, the Chinese Pistache on either side of the sitting area to provide shade for you.

Cover the roots of the plant with mulch so that the water goes through the stones easily and create a Zen environment at the same time! Mexican river rocks work best for this purpose.

2. Let’s See What Happens When Gravel Meets Greens!

Gravels meet greens!

Did you know you could place outdoor tiles on grass by applying a layer of gravels on top of the soil?

You don’t even have to cover the whole area with tiles! Make an extra-ordinary pattern by placing the tiles in between grass and see how cool it turns out.

Like gardens, yet, don’t have time to maintain it?

No problem!

Add some succulents at one corner. These are extremely low-maintenance plants and only need to water once in a while. Surround the roots with some pebbles to add a different texture. 

You can also add one or two big boulders at a corner and gather some sand around it to create a ripple effect.

3. Digging The Urban Decor View

Urban-decor

Cobblestones are classic when it comes to decorating a Japanese lawn.

If you love a touch of modern-based designs on your backyard, then this style is bound to catch your eyes.

Although it might look all fancy, but it is created with simplicity in mind.

Plant some tall-grown trees at a certain distance and place one big sphere-shaped rock beside each of them. Then cover the entire area with blue-colored cobblestone as much as you can. Add some shrubs and small plants here and there to bring more colors into the picture.

Don’t forget to install a sitting bench on one side, so that you can sit and enjoy a spiritual moment with nature once in a while!

4. Have Fun With Water Lilies and Little Bonsais

Water-lillies-and-bonsai

Want to know what will bring more life into your backyard?

Finding a way to introduce a water element that synchs with nature!

Let the focal point be a wide shallow plant pot, fill it with water and place some water lilies on it. The big rounded leaves of the lilies will float and add a warmth to the rest of the lawn.

You can also plant some bonsai and tropical plants in the corners of your yard and cover the rest of the surface with multi-colored gravels and crushed rubbles in different sections to bring a more modern outlook.

Zen Garden Ideas For Front Yard

1. Everyone Is Welcome At Our House

welcome-path

In many cultures and religions, guests are considered as a sign of blessing. And nothing says “Welcome” better than a stone pathway that urges to lead the guest to your home!

Let the front yard speak for itself by placing some wide round-shaped stepping stones from the main gate right up to your home sweet home. Create different sections by drawing boundaries and fill them up with lots of gravels, pebbles and mulch.

Don’t forget to plant small trees in each of these sections to bring some greens to your front yard!

2. An Urn Centerpiece That Creates Mystery

Ordinary items like an urn, which is usually used to store ashes inside it, can change the look of your lawn in an instant!

Place a tall urn on the top of some overgrown grass, preferable at the center of your plot. Hang some small flower pots at the back of your gate with the help of a hook that looks super cute once you close it!

You can choose any of your favorite flower plants and decorative trees for the rest of the arrangement. Let the trees grow along the sides and cover the rest of the surface with crushed stones and small pebbles.

3. A River With No Water

A river with no water

A true skillful Zen gardener can create a river with no trace of water in sight!

The dry landscape is a characteristic of the traditional Japanese gardens. Although modern designers also decided to add a waterfall to their décor, it's still popular among many people.

The crucial thing about this arrangement is to choose the right type of rocks to play with. You can select some blue stones and river-side smooth pebbles that go perfectly with this theme.

Also, you have to place the stones strategically so that it resembles the shape of a river. Choose some big boulders to place them on the sides and add a stone lantern on the bank as a statement piece.

Zen Garden Ideas For Small Space

1. A Shaded Corner For The Tired Soul

A-shaded-corner

A shaded corner that’s been left neglected for years can be a perfect opportunity to create a miniature Zen design!

If you don’t have that much space left in your lawn, then we suggest planting small trees instead of the big ones. And let the shrubs, moss and ferns grow all over the place!

Use some pieces of medium-sized boulders to create to complete the overall look. You can also add a miniature water fountain by filling up a small flower bowl with water and place it beside a decorative stonework.

2. A Miniature River With Water And Pebbles

waters and pebbles

Who says ponds have to be big in size? Buddhists believed in a minimalistic lifestyle and so do we!

The sight of a running stream creates a tranquil atmosphere around us. Even if you have a small space, you can still turn it into a narrow drain by filling it up with water stream and placing some colorful gravels underneath it.

To create a waterfall-like effect, let the water flow from a raised bed and enjoy the splashing sound that will often remind you of the waves that keep crashing at the shore on a moonlit night!

3. Let’s Eliminate The Darkness!

Darkness eliminated

Once in a while, it's okay to be a little upset. After all, life wears us down from time to time.

Times like this call for a walk on that beautiful lawn of yours!

All that hard work on your newly-made Zen garden will go in vain if you want to take a stroll at night and unable to see anything right?

To light up the path in front of you, you can add a small lantern in a corner.

Better yet, make it the center of attention by placing it in front of raked sand. The ripple effect of sands and gravels will look a lot more interesting hiding behind a game between light and shadow!

Zen Garden Ideas On A Budget

1. Happiness Go Round And Round

corner of happiness

The calmness and peacefulness of “Zen” don’t require you to spend a big amount of money at all!

Pick the largest tree at your backyard and start putting the rocks of different colors around it. Make a spiral pattern so that the overall shape ends up looking like a big round geometrical model.

Place the small rocks first, gradually work way your way up to the bigger ones and change the color of the stones with each spiral. You can also plant green and red colored cacti in between the spiral to make it look more interesting.  

2. A Small Little World 

small little world

Every garden décor is a piece of art. Whether you live in a fancy apartment or a small hut, the trees will light up any place with equal charm and happiness!

If you have some trees planted at your front yard, then half of your work is already done! All you have to do is to add one or two big boulders in the middle of the lawn and let some oddly-shaped stepping stone line up to your home.

Pro tip: let the moss grow and overtake your lawn, it will add just the right amount of beauty to your place and make it look like a magical hut straight out of a fairytale!

3. Welcome Spring With Open Heart

Spring Garden

Seasons change and so does our mood!

While the spring is here, let birds chirp, sing songs and more importantly, make use of all those colorful flower plants to work in your favor!

You don’t even have to plant them on the grounds, just place the flower pots on top of some mismatched colorful crushed rocks and beautiful pebbles. The flowers will act as the focal point and let you know that the season of color is finally here!

4. Time To Play With Patterns!

Let's play with patterns

Our next décor is right up your alley if you are a creative designer at heart and love playing around with different shapes and patterns all the time!

The idea is to make a divider between soil and gravels. Plant shrubs, cacti and other small plants on the soil section. Cover the rest of the surface with gravels and small pebbles of your choice.

You can add a white picket fence and plant some sunflower or roses alongside the fence to create a mystical effect that can be seen from a distance.

Issues And Cautions While Making Zen Garden

Wear Protective Gloves

While working with rocks and pebbles, it’s quite easy to get hurt without prior notice. It’s best to wear a protective glove before you start working on this project.

Perform Regular Maintenance

The trees and shrubs may need to be trimmed once they grow out of their shape. Also, you need to apply fertilizer, prune the leaves and rake the sands to maintain the look of the garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Does A Zen Garden Symbolize?

Answer: It depends on how you plan to decorate your garden. Depending on the formation of the rocks, it can represent mountains, boats, a living animal, waterfall or the waves of ocean etc.

2. What Types Of Stones Are Used In Zen Garden?

Answer: You have plenty of options while selecting rocks including lava stone fragments, pea gravel, boulders, stepping stones, pebbles, setting stones, dry rock etc.

3. Why Is A Zen Garden So Relaxing?

Answer: Looking at the front lawn of your home will make you realize the essence of nature can be recreated anywhere on earth if you have the courage to do it. The swirling pattern of the sand and the formation of rocks have a calming effect on the human mind and lets you enjoy a moment of peace in solitude.

Final Words

As you can see from this how to make a Zen garden in your backyard guideline, building up your own little spot from the scratch doesn’t need to be overwhelming!

You can utilize any neglected corner of your home and turn it into a beautiful space where everyone can find a connection to the elements of nature and enjoy some bliss moments as well.

Go ahead and use your sense of color and perception to create a wonderful garden of your own. And if you run out of ideas, you know where to look for!

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