Invest in Backyard Zen

Outdoor features create a sense of tranquility
Buddhist monks created Japanese rock gardens to aid in meditation. These so-called Zen gardens reduce stress, increase focus and improve well-being. Photo by Photo by kenko- / iStock / Getty Images Plus

For ages, humans have sought solace in the great outdoors. When the weather is beautiful and the birds are singing, it’s easy to feel a sense of connection with the world.

Yet you don’t have to journey far or wide; you can experience this sensation in your own backyard.

Many homeowners have taken to creating places of peace with a few thoughtfully selected outdoor furnishings.

Cozy chairs with waterproof cushions gathered around a fire pit create warm vibes. A hammock near a babbling water feature is sure to send you into a Saturday afternoon snooze. A dining set overlooking a blooming garden encourages eating al fresco.

“We’re seeing an increase in customer demand for outdoor living spaces,” said Joshua Olive, marketing director of Tallahassee Nurseries.

“This comes in many forms, such as adding large tropical containers around a pool, planting trees for added shade, larger fountain installations or smaller garden accessories like bird baths and garden art.”

Zen gardens reduce stress, improve well-being and increase focus. Zen gardens are also known as Japanese rock gardens, which Buddhist monks created to aid in meditation.

These gardens consist of sand and gravel raked into circular or spiral patterns and outlined by rocks.

Spiral patterns of sand and gravel are features of Zen gardens, which tend to also include moss and pruned trees. Photo by Photo by Yue / iStock / Getty Images Plus

They typically have moss, short bushes and pruned trees. Small bridges, lanterns and water features are also common additions.

Few sounds are more soothing than moving water. You have many ways to include water features in your backyard, including koi ponds, waterfalls, reflection pools, water fountains and wishing wells.

Where sound is important, lighting helps to set the mood. Olive said lighting adds dimension to your yard and also helps you to enjoy your outdoor living space into the evening.

Like any outdoor project, it’s best to consider your own preferences and personal styles in order to optimize your curb appeal and time spent outdoors.

“Zen might mean something different to each individual, so it’s all about choosing the plants and features that speak to you on a personal level,” said Shannon Ruark, landscaping specialist at Esposito Garden Center. “It’s key to create a design that stimulates all of the senses, creates an immersive experience and a peaceful, relaxing ambiance.”

Even planting seasonal flowers or an herb garden can boost your mood. A sunflower can brighten your day, and the scent of lavender can inspire calm. Experience that with a soothing sprig of homegrown mint in your tea.

With Northwest Florida experiencing each season in moderation, it’s easy to create calming outdoor spaces for year-round enjoyment.

Categories: Landscaping