5 Ways to Create Your Own Meditation Garden
Carve out a small corner of peace in your own backyard
Are you trying to carve out a quiet place in your garden to practice yoga or to meditate? Wouldn’t it be great if, in just a few steps, you could enter a personal retreat where the sounds of electronics, cell phones, and family chatter become a distant memory? There are lots of gardening ideas and landscape designs that can be devised to create a special outdoor oasis—some more involved than others—but here are five starters to get you going on creating a small corner of peace in your own backyard.
1. Get Grounded
Do you already know where your peaceful place is in your backyard? Is it near your favorite tree, swing, or bench? If so, start there. If not, find the perfect base—a grounding place for your seated positions and sun salutations. It should be separate from entertaining areas and hidden from prying eyes. A patio, deck or platform works well. Pergolas can be easily assembled today using kits from home improvement stores. Lowes offers an all-inclusive kit.
For your platform, mahogany and bamboo stand up to the elements, while composite materials are extremely low maintenance. Natural wood can be stained with non-toxic coatings. Yurts (or round tents) are also popular options for outdoor yoga practices or prayer places.
2. Water Features to Relax the Mind
Nothing relaxes the soul more than the tranquil sound of water. A water feature can be incorporated into your oasis by introducing a small fountain or waterfall. Ranging in price from $100 to several thousand dollars, water features can be installed by your landscaper, plumber, or you can do it yourself. You can find an interesting array of water features on sites like Hayneedle and Wayfair. Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have a stream running through your property. Stepping stones or a bridge might be a beautiful addition to the landscape. A moon bridge will help emulate a Japanese Tea Garden. More about Japanese Style Gardens
If you’re looking for something more dramatic, a koi pond is another way to introduce an aquatic element to your meditation space. You will need a minimum of 1,000 gallons of water and great care in keeping the water clean (with a reliable pond filter). Although this will be your enclave, the kids can enjoy this feature too. Enlist their help in feeding and caring for the fish. They’re easy pets! Koi can be purchased online, at specialty koi farms and in many pet stores.
3. Scents for Soothing Your Soul
Naturally, you can enjoy the scents of your garden’s flowering blooms while you’re practicing or meditating. Your in-season azalea, roses, lilies, or wisteria will lend a soft scent to this calming landscape. Another way to enhance your senses in your secret garden is to use an essential oil diffuser filled with aromatherapy oils. You can use herbs to repel mosquitos. Create a mosquito repellent by mixing water, witch hazel, and an herb from your garden. Herbs that repel mosquitos include citronella, lemon balm, cajeput, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and garlic. Natural Living Ideas to Repel Mosquitos.
At the same time, try to attract natural pollinators to your garden with these beneficial fragrant oils. Orange blossom is an irresistible enticement for bees. Your meditation garden is most likely not the place for entertaining bees. But butterflies would make a beautiful accoutrement. Try lavender, yarrow, catmint, fennel, and sage essential oils for this. You can also use these oils to anoint your yoga partner with oil-infused hands as they drift into Shavasana.
4. Soundscape Meets Landscape
For many meditators, complete silence is the aim. But others get into practice more easily by listening to soft music, such as New Age, Indian, or chants, especially if they’re using their meditation space for yoga or stretching. For this, you can use a simple wireless speaker and your phone (keeping in mind, you were supposed to leave the cellphone in the house!) or you can wire a speaker system outdoors that can be turned on before entering your garden.
Waterproof speakers range in price from $300-500 per speaker and include popular brands like Bose and Klipsch. Klipsch speakers resemble stones and blend nicely into the foliage. If you wish to forgo all technology, hang simple wind chimes on a branch, fence, or hook nearby. These simple chimes will help you chant, “Om Shanti, Om Shanti,” in no time.
5. Stones and Crystals That Rock
Rock formations are a fun component of gardens these days. Known as cairns (from Scottish-Gaelic tradition) or inuksuks (from Intuit, Canadian, Artic regions), these rock formations were traditionally used for landmarks or ceremonial purposes. Today they’re commonly used as markers along hiking trails. Stone cairns can be constructed as an interesting art form and focal point for your retreat space. You can use all types of stones and even incorporate them from your hiking and travel collections.
Other uplifting landscape design elements include crushed stone (think Japanese Zen gardens), Buddha statues, and crystals. A Japanese Zen garden—a dry landscape—requires some study of pebble formation, layout, and care. You may want to hire a landscape designer to help you incorporate the Zen principles. Crystals contain special healing powers for both you and garden.
Connecting with nature reduces stress levels. When combined with meditation, imagine the health benefits you’ll receive. Make it convenient—create a sanctuary right in your own backyard.
Maureen Ryan Thorpe is a freelance writer who grew up on the North Shore of Boston and has written about people, places, and technology for years. She aims to impart tips to readers on how to “do-it-yourself,” save money, think creatively, and live life to the fullest.