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5 Steps for Making an Easy Zen Garden

There’s nothing like a good summer garden project to get you outside and in the mood for home improvement and a Zen garden is an easy, trendy landscape feature you can add with nearly no gardening experience whatsoever. Perhaps that’s part of what makes it so Zen, but then again there is some work involved. Thankfully, it’s not on the same level as pruning an award-winning Bonsai tree or keeping koi alive through the winter – although that would be pretty sweet. But, let’s start at Level Zero and aspire to greatness as we go. <strong>1. Water Feature</strong> Water is a key element in any Japanese garden and is rich in symbolism. According to ancient tradition, much emphasis is placed on water’s location in relation to other <a title="Garden Features" href="http://www.atgstores.com/garden-decor_968.html?linkloc=tn" target="_blank">garden features</a>. Some texts offer that water should flow from north to south or east to west, while others make recommendations for the specific placement of pools and ponds. At Level Zero, we just want some water. A water <a title="Garden Fountains" href="http://www.atgstores.com/outdoor-fountains_2696.html" target="_blank">fountain</a>, a <a title="Bird Baths" href="http://www.atgstores.com/bird-baths_1155.html" target="_blank">bird bath</a> – Zen is about inner peace, not freaking out about how to carve a stream through the back yard. <strong>2. Sand</strong> Yang to the water’s yin, sand is also essential in a Zen garden. Now, you may be thinking, <em>I’ve seen those big rock gardens and they look hard to make and maintain</em>. No doubt! But, remember: Level Zero. Along the same lines, you may have also seen those cute little tabletop Zen gardens accompanied by a tiny rake and some pebbles that executive types use to calm themselves after a round of layoffs – Just scale up from there! Your rock garden doesn’t have to be huge – you can even put it in a <a title="Planters" href="http://www.atgstores.com/planters_969.html?linkloc=tn" target="_blank">planter</a> … or the actual sandbox, if the kids are bored with it. <strong>3. Pathways</strong> It has to be noted that doing this part “right” would take a lot of work – a <em>lot</em> of work. But, there are two very Zen workarounds to this part of your project: A) Place your other features <em>around</em> the pathway you already have, or B) get some nice, flat stone pavers and drop them on the ground where you want your new path to go. Now, you can spruce up Plan B by digging out around the stones and adding some mulch or other edging, but that may be a few decimal points beyond Level 0 – and we ain’t goin’ there. <strong>4. Bridge</strong> <a title="Garden Bridges" href="http://www.atgstores.com/garden-bridges_17230.html" target="_blank">Bridges</a> are a staple in Japanese gardens, symbolizing the path to heaven (or immortality, if that’s your preference). Again, you may be thinking there’s no way this could be a Level Zero addition, but these days <em>you can get one delivered to you in the mail</em>. [caption id="attachment_22356" align="aligncenter" width="243"]<a title="Cedar Garden Bridges" href="http://www.atgstores.com/bridge/shine-company-498-cedar-garden-bridge_g655739.html" rel="attachment wp-att-22356" target="_blank"><img class=" wp-image-22356 " title="Garden Bridge" src="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/bridge-300x300.jpg" alt="Garden Bridges" width="243" height="243" /></a> Beautifying drainage ditches since 1970.[/caption] You can always pay the neighbor kid to paint it red. <strong>5. Plants</strong> Bamboo. Boom bam: Level Zero all the way. It grows like wildfire, you can’t kill it and it definitely gives off that Zen vibe. Topiary – trimming bushes into shapes – is a popular practice in traditional gardens of this type, although it’s anything but easy. With bamboo, though, you can just plant it and let it go wild until it’s time for the neighbor kid to come back over and hack it into submission with a machete. We hope you enjoy these easy tips in creating your Level Zero zero-stress Zen garden.
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