Finding Serenity in Exterior Design

Zen gardens feature classic elements, such as raked gravel (a classic garden element) surrounded by rocks or even moss; some, like Ryoan-ji, may even feature minimalist gardens.

Water features can help create a Japanese-inspired backyard space, helping to drown out noise and promote relaxation.

Earthy Colors

Earthy hues in Zen garden design remain popular due to the belief that their elements represent human desire for permanence and eternity. Organic tones like clay, chocolate brown and Sherwin-Williams Uber Umber help blend your exterior in seamlessly with nature rather than stand out in a bustling neighborhood.

Rocks and gravel are essential elements of Zen gardens, forming the basis for their designs. Raked patterns in the gravel often symbolize something symbolic; wave-like spaces of wave-like gravel represent flowing water while mountains can be symbolized through stylized landscape compositions made with rocks and stones arranged in stylized landscape compositions.

The rocks’ rough amorphous textures create a sharp contrast with the soothing visions of water and sand elements – an eye-catching visual paradox that encourages deeper contemplation. A Zen garden attempts to transcend these dualities through its miniature landscape design; becoming an embodiment of contemplative thought seeking spiritual enlightenment.

Water Features

Though water features may not typically be considered part of Zen gardens, the sounds of trickling waterfalls or garden streams can create an earthy and peaceful ambiance. To add even more natural beauty, add a pond with Koi fish; their vibrant hues will bring vibrant pops of color.

Rock gardens can become somewhat repetitive over time, so adding statues is an effective way to inject some variety and shape into a garden’s landscape. Statues depicting Buddha or other religious figures are popular choices in Zen gardens as they represent both spirituality and artistic expression.

Moss is another natural groundcover that adds texture to a Zen garden. If there is an unoccupied and shaded spot in your garden that receives moist conditions, try planting some moss there – for instance between stones of a pond or at the base of pagoda statues.


Zen gardens have traditionally been designed as spaces for meditation. These garden spaces usually consist of rock, moss and gravel arranged to reflect nature’s elements; most garden plants should therefore be kept to an absolute minimum with low maintenance requirements.

Moss is an essential element in Asian Zen gardens as it symbolizes water and life. Furthermore, it thrives under diverse environmental conditions including Japan’s dry clime.

Zen gardens typically consist of only living plants like moss; however, other forms of foliage can be added as accents and to further increase feelings of tranquillity. In this contemporary Zen backyard stepping stone paths and the ancient pagoda-like Stone Lantern accents help to create this peaceful atmosphere, as does a Japanese maple tree with vibrant red stripes as well as low shrubs to complete this harmonious scene. Tori gates serve to mark this spiritual oasis.


Landscaping Zen gardens requires all elements to be appropriately scaled to their respective spaces and in harmony with one another. Stepping stone paths should be designed so as to lead visitors through the garden – this may meander through gravel, moss, grass or may even include water features like cascades or streams.

Asian Zen gardens typically incorporate statues as another element to add spiritual and artistic qualities, from Buddha images to dragons with cultural significance in Asia.

Bamboo is another popular choice for Zen gardens and can be used to create privacy screening or accent pieces – just be sure to choose non-invasive varieties! Lighting plays an essential part in creating an ambiance suitable for meditation in the evening.