Nurture with nature
Escape reality with a space designed with you in mind
By Tammy Roberts
Imagine lying in a bamboo lounge chair, a canopy of oak tree branches shading the warm sun. Birds chirp blissfully in the distance, as the soothing sound of water drizzles down a ceramic fountain. A cool breeze releases the sweet scent of jasmine and carries you away to a secluded, serene paradise.
This may sound like a far-away fantasy, but creating this scene in your own home environment is easier than you may think.
Growing in popularity, meditation gardens have one goal in mind – to relax the mind, body and spirit. While they vary in style and design, these home havens provide an opportunity for you to retreat and escape the daily stressors of life. The best part is you don’t even have to know anything about meditation to create a meditation garden. All you need is a few natural elements that please your senses and a willingness to allow yourself some much-needed time to unwind.
When designing your meditation garden, you’ll want to add components that relax you, as well as inspire you. Envision your most peaceful place and select the pieces that will help bring it to life.
Here are some suggestions, straight from the experts, to get you started:
1. Vigorous Vegetation. Plants release oxygen into the air, providing you with an increased sense of calmness. Choose plants that are muted or mostly green in color, such as ferns, papyrus or lady rhapis palms, which tend to sway in the breeze, but won’t distract you. Also consider adding one or two vibrant species, such as a spotted orchid, to center your focus.
2. Cozy Seating. Whether it’s a repurposed bench or a cocoon hammock, selecting a unique, comfortable piece of furniture is key in creating a tranquil mind.
3. Serene Sounds. The sound of running water is a known stress-reliever, so why not add an earth-tone fountain or Japanese birdbath to your space? Others may choose to include an organic wind chime or pop in their favorite sweet sounds CD.
4. Soothing Shade. Trees generate the best natural form of shade, but if your surroundings are sparse, simply create your own. Add an organic canopy or wooden trellis to shade the sun and enhance your secluded space.
5. Sweetened Scent. When pleasing the senses, don’t forget your sense of smell. It could be something as simple as fresh-cut grass or as soothing as jasmine, gardenias or bridal wreath.
6. A Personal Piece. In order to make your garden complete, it’s important to add one element that you keep close to your heart. Whether it’s grandma’s quilt, a hand-painted sculpture or memorable mosaic, this space should always be a place that makes you happy.
Here’s what the experts had to say about these eco-friendly environments.
• Sandy Ball, garden curator at Sun Harbor Nursery, Indian Harbour Beach
“We are all so active, especially children, who are overloaded with video games, school and soccer. We need some place to let the mind rest and just be still. Start for five minutes a day, then increase your time. I find that I’m able to be more creative after I let my mind relax. People just crave a quiet moment to themselves.”
• Shelly McKinney, owner of Elbow Creek Garden and Gift, Melbourne
“While seating is important, you always want to have some nice, comfortable grass in your space, such as dwarf mondo grass. It’s comfy, simple and soothing.”
• Roger Burleigh, owner of Green Gloves Garden Center, Cocoa Beach
“Lighting is another element that many forget. Create an up-lighting effect by using floodlights that shoot upward throughout your garden. It creates a pleasant, warm feeling.”