How to create a Japanese zen garden on your own

How to design your own Japanese zen gardenSince the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens reopened in June 2020 after the pandemic forced it to close for a few months, the garden’s curator Heather Grzybek said the number of visitors it sees each day has been “ridiculously high.” She noted that people are looking for an outdoor area where they can spend time with friends and family, and to bring the peace and tranquility back into their lives, which Japanese gardens are known to facilitate. In addition to visiting Japanese gardens, Grzybek said people are also increasingly interested in creating their own gardens at home, creating a special space in their garden that promotes a sense of calm.

Megumi Kato, director of marketing for the Portland Japanese Garden, explained that Japanese gardens are designed using specific principles and elements, and they differ from botanical gardens in that they are not a collection of individual species. “Rather, a Japanese garden is a composition, meant to be experienced as a single work like an orchestra playing a symphony,” Kato said.

We talked to experts about what defines Japanese gardens, and got tips on how to create a Zen garden, a type of Japanese garden, at home. They also recommended resources to use if you want to learn more about Japanese gardening techniques.

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