Strategies for a Zen Garden

zen garden

A Zen garden is a Japanese rock garden. It includes things like stones, gravel, sand and plants. The point of it is to create an area that resembles nature but without all the clutter you’d expect to see in nature. There are many health benefits for having these types of gardens which will be discussed later in this article. I’m going to list different strategies for creating your very own Zen Garden with ease.

Use Rocks

Rocks are probably the most important part of any garden or even landscape design. They give good visual appeal as well as provide drainage under the gravel layer along with the plant’s roots. However you shouldn’t just go out grabbing random rocks from somewhere else because they can have weed killer on them or they might be loaded with other types of chemicals. You can visit a local rock yard and ask the owner if you can take some rocks off their hands. If that doesn’t work, then there are many places online to get free rocks like Craigslist and Freecycle.

Add Gravel

A garden with water in the background

To add a ‘watery’ look to your garden and help keep weeds from popping up, add gravel as a base layer underneath everything else. This is also good for draining excess water from the plants roots which will help them not drown when it rains heavily. To create an optimal environment for plants, try adding anywhere from 1-3 inches of gravel depending on what type of plants you have chosen to add to your garden space.

Add Rivers

Creating a path through your garden is a great way to add visual appeal. This can be achieved by digging up the gravel, adding sand and small rocks to the bottom and then replacing the gravel back into place. You can then create little rivers or creeks using acrylic paint designed for use on plastic surfaces. Just let it dry and pop it in the hot sun for a bit before you put it in place and watch how much easier it will be to remove weeds later on down the road!

Add Plants

There are many different types of plants that work well in Zen Gardens such as mosses, succulents, algae and aloe vera just to name a few. There are also many artificial looking mats you can buy to create this effect. To learn more about artificial succulent mats click here

Add Water

Adding water is a simple way to add the look of moving ‘water’ without actually having to add any type of liquid which could attract pests and/or create molding problems for your plants. There are many ways to add fountains, ponds or small puddles of water that will serve your purpose well. Just be sure not to put anything with batteries directly in the ground if it can possibly get wet and always check for moisture before you buy new plants so they won’t drown while you wait for them to acclimate!

Add Animal Figures

Who says you need cats and dogs running around your Zen Garden? You can add frogs, lizards and even insects. This is a surefire way to attract the types of wildlife you would like to see in your garden space. Just be sure to add them in such a way that they won’t hurt any plants or the structure of the garden itself.

Add Rocks & Driftwood

A small house in a parking lot

Adding rocks and driftwood not only provides visual appeal but it also helps with drainage and will provide many places for bugs and insects to hide out when they feel threatened. Be careful though not to add too much driftwood or large rocks because this could potentially cause problems with drainage later on down the road if you don’t consider these things when building your Zen Garden.

Add Natural Elements

There are many types of natural elements you can add to your garden space which will not only increase the amount of wildlife living in your area, but it will also help with drainage, provide much needed shade and give you an opportunity to use your green thumb. You can add small trees like lemon or orange trees along with bushes like rosemary, lavender and sage.


Creating your own Zen Garden doesn’t have to be expensive or take up all of your spare time. You can do it in installments, over the course of several days or even months! Just be sure that you are always adding elements which will help with drainage and won’t cost a fortune to upkeep if you want this project to last for years.

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