How to Bring Peace to Your Garden
These 10 elements can bring a meditative quality to your garden.
Whether it’s with a simple stack of stones or a beautiful bowl of water, encouraging contemplation and serenity in the garden doesn’t have to be complicated. If you would love your outdoor space to be a calm, peaceful retreat, here are 10 easy places to begin.
- Bowl of water. A beautiful bowl filled with water and placed in the garden makes a tranquil touch (the birds will love it too). Add a few stones to the bottom, place a water plant inside or leave it clear and pure, as shown here. If you have mosquitoes in your area, it’s best to choose a fountain instead — mosquitoes tend to avoid running water.
2. Statuary. A special figure in the garden can be a wonderful prompt to ground and center yourself. Think carefully about placement: You can use the statue to bring attention to a special element in the garden, like a favorite tree or rock, or as the centerpiece of an outdoor meditation area.
3. Contemplative path. A gently winding path invites slowness and serenity, especially when you’ve planted delicate blooms and plants with soft, touchable foliage nearby where they can be appreciated. Simple steppingstones, wood slices or pebbles would work.
4. Flower mandala. Creating one of these ephemeral works of art is not difficult (you can make it as simple or as complex as you like), and it’s a lovely way to unwind and meditate. You could create one as a decoration for a gathering in your backyard, or make a mandala of flowers and leaves as a personal meditative practice.
5. Hidden art. Sculpture in the garden doesn’t always need to be obvious — why not tuck a piece of garden art into a less expected place instead? Positioning your garden art so that it’s intertwined or partially hidden by a natural element (flowers, vines, moss, leaves) makes it feel more a part of the garden.
6. Bonsai. Even the tiniest outdoor space can benefit from a beautiful bonsai or two. These miniature trees are carefully pruned and shaped to look just like the full-size versions out in nature, and make a splendid display on an outdoor table or shelf. Seek out knowledgeable staffers at a local nursery that specializes in this art. They should be able to help you select the right bonsai for your climate, and advise you on how to care for it.
7. Rock cairn. Like a bit of DIY art for your garden, a cairn of stacked stones invites creativity into your landscape. To give your cairn visual weight and importance, start with a hefty rock as the base and stack gradually smaller stones on top. Position your cairn in a spot you’d like to draw the eye to, such as the end of a garden path.
8. Bell. The sound of a ceramic or metal bell or chime brings a feeling of serenity to the garden. Hang one from the eaves over your porch or from the branch of a tree farther out in the garden. If you meditate, pull up your cushion, and use the bell as a signal to begin and end your practice.
9. Rain chain. Transform the sound of falling rain into a musical burble with a rain chain. Used in place of a downspout and connected to the gutter of your home, a rain chain directs the flow of water running off your roof into a series of beautiful linked cups. To enhance your rain chain even more, consider adding pretty stones, river rocks or tumbled sea glass to the ground where the water will eventually flow.
10. A place to be at peace. Consider where in your garden feels the most private and peaceful, and put a seat there. Think of this as your place of peace — different from a social gathering spot, this is meant to be a solo retreat or a place for heartfelt one-on-one conversations. But even more important than the particular chair or location? That you actually devote time to using your outdoor space, reconnecting with nature, your breath and your heart’s desires.