Zen is a school of Buddhism that is known for meditation, contemplation, and mindfulness. Although Zen has a long and storied history dating back to the first century CE, many people today associate it with Japanese Zen Buddhist gardens that were popular during the Kamakura and Muromachi Periods between 1192 and 1573 CE. Bringing natural stone, water, and lighting features into your landscape is a beautiful way to bring some of the minimalist tenets of Zen into your daily life, and Lehnhoff’s Supply has a massive selection of products to help make it possible.
Traditional Natural Stone Features of a Zen Garden
While many people today think of rock gardens and raked sand when they hear the phrase “Zen garden,” there are many other ways to embrace the style when planning your hardscape. Adding natural stone steps, retaining walls, and fountains to your garden is a great way to introduce some of these stylistic principles. Gardens from the Kamakura and Muromachi Periods were often designed to mimic nature, even when following minimalist designs. As such, designers typically avoided unnatural-looking symmetry and opted to use jagged, uneven stones in their hardscapes. Zen garden designs also tend to eschew brightly-colored ornaments and flowers, so consider using muted hues when creating your landscape.
Consider Shape, Color, and Placement When Selecting Natural Stone
When choosing natural stone products for your Zen garden, select materials that fit in with your landscape — the goal is to choose stones that look like they’ve been sitting in your yard for centuries. Placement is vital when adding natural stone features, particularly rock gardens or landscape boulders. Arrange your stones in a way that is pleasing to the eye; for a truly authentic Zen garden, you may want to recreate famous landscapes or mountains with boulders and gravel.
A Project for the Modern Home: Natural Stone Steps
If you’re interested in Zen gardens and a full rock garden isn’t your style, consider creating Zen-inspired features like natural stone steps. Instead of using pavers or bricks, select natural-looking rocks and arrange them in an organic, asymmetrical fashion. Polished pebbles and river rounds can also add a bit of Zen to your garden — use small polished stones in place of gravel for walkways, patios, and more!
Compliment Natural Stones with Water Features, Greens, and Lighting
Complete your design with a small water feature, lush grass, and an eye-catching tree or boulder nearby. Water features and lighting are also gorgeous additions to any Zen-inspired garden. Lehnhoff’s Supply offers products from CAST Lighting and Kichler Lighting that can add a peaceful glow to your garden, and our inventory includes all of the supplies you need to create a natural-looking water feature. Visit us online or in-store to get started!
Questions? Lehnhoff’s Supply is Here to Help
If you still have more questions about how to best prepare your landscape or garden for spring and summer, the trained professionals at Lehnhoff’s Supply are here to help you.
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