Tips to get
John Stuart Leslie
You may have been
thinking, “Gee, this spiritual garden idea is great, but how do I
go about creating one? I think I would like to do a Japanese Garden theme, so now how do I start the process?
Should I just go out into the yard and start digging a hole for the pond?”
Designing a garden in any space can be
challenging, but the approach to the design depends on what you are starting with, the canvas of your area in
which the garden will be built. You may have a completely un-landscaped, brand new home type setting. You may
have an existing landscape that needs remodeling. You could also have an acceptable garden but would like to
embellish it with the spiritual themes we are discussing.
Perhaps the easiest thing to do would be to
embellish an existing yard, so that is what we will focus on for this discussion.
First, you need to do some simple
First, select a “theme" or "style" (see related articles
So here is a secret way to fast track the process
of bypassing the site analysis stage and get right to designing an area based upon your theme:
Tip #1: Based on your theme, make a list of the
elements that will reflect the theme whether they are simply colors, materials, objects or symbols. Make a list
of various plants that reflect your theme and how they can be incorporated into your yard, and perhaps replace
existing ones that don’t belong or support the theme.
Tip #2: What objects can accentuate the space? Perhaps a Buddha for a meditation
theme, or a fountain for a feng shui theme, or a Star of David mosaic designed into the flooring pattern of the
main sitting area.
Tip #3: In keeping with your theme, select one
detail of the overall idea you are thinking about and focus on that one detail. Then create the rest of the
space around it. It would ideally be the focal point of your space, but could also be say, the symbolic meaning
of a stepping stone path in which the path defines the spaces composing the entire yard, or the “detail” could
be the cardinal directions so that the positioning of objects or entrances and exits, etc. could be in alignment
with the Winter solstice or other directions.
See how that exercise works for you and often you
will find that the rest of the design falls into place. If it doesn’t, perhaps select another detail and start
again. In this way, your theme will come through rather than appearing as though you are merely “decorating”
your space with your theme elements.