Now and Zen–Meditation Space Just Steps Away

Ask any woman—it could be 14-hour work days or 14 trips back and forth to a child’s golf camp—we could all benefit from a few minutes of solid meditation.

The practice is good for the body and the soul, accomplishing everything from boosting the immune system to relieving stress and promoting better sleep.

To truly benefit, it takes a little effort beyond that namby-pamby deep breath in between errands. We’re talking dedicated “me” space—the line of demarcation that kids and even significant others can’t cross while you’re there. Sure—you can close the bathroom door, but wouldn’t you rather be outside?

Creating your own personal meditation space outdoors can be as simple or as significant as you wish it.

“Meditation gardens can mean anything,” says Chalet Landscape, Nursery and Garden Center senior landscape architect Robert Milani. “We design a wide variety of spaces and outdoor rooms. With meditation, what comes to mind is something that is private. A secluded, intimate space to meditate or pray.”

If you want to start small, choose a place in your yard that remains out-of-view from your home. Think of it this way—you don’t want to be distracted, and you don’t want distractions to see you. “It can be a simple venture,” says Milani. To create the “space,” you can choose something as simple as an outdoor screen. Or, Milani says, consider a natural screen with evergreens.

Once you’ve selected a space and “enclosed” it, the point is to achieve a soothing feeling – with that in mind, Milani recommends cooler colors when bringing plants and flowers into the mix.

Want to up the “wow” factor? “We’ve used pergolas on occasion,” says Milani. “It adds to the intimacy and closeness. We’ve also created garden walls— something 18-inches high by 15-inches wide, that’s good to sit on and gaze up.”

To amp up the peaceful factor, Ilt Vignocchi president Donna Vignocchi recommends water features.

“The most relaxing thing you can do is to introduce water into your space,” says Vignocchi. And it doesn’t have to be a 6-foot waterfall—in fact, she says the best water features are those that appear natural to the surrounding landscape. “You want it to look as if it’s something that’s always been there…and something that matches your home’s architectural style.”

Nor does water have to be an expensive feature. “At a minimum, why not try a birdbath, which can bring nature into your space as well.”

As more people look to their own backyards for stress relief, Milani says features such as inlaid brick labyrinths and outdoor fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular. “It’s about making that personal connection, and what it means for your own private time,” says Milani.

And it doesn’t have to take long. Meditation spaces can be created within a week or two for a small design. Keep in mind, though—if you want a koi pond in your own garden, it’ll take a bit longer.

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