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9 Tips to Create a Peaceful & Affordable Zen Garden

Have you ever wandered through a garden space that felt so serene, you just didn't want to leave? A place lovely enough to soothe your stresses and inspire creativity? You don't have to have a five-figure garden budget to make one of your very own, nor 5 acres to work with! Here are nine tips to create a peaceful and affordable zen garden of your very own.

1) Join Your Local Gardening Group

Many communities have groups either on social media platforms or that meet in person to support your garden inspiration. This is an excellent place to reach out to more seasoned gardeners and ask if they are thinning out any perennials that come back year after year. You may come away with gardening ideas and advice alongside the plants to nurture!

2) Purchase Clearance Plants

While those beautiful spring plants at your local garden center may be tempting, you can save money by practicing your patience! Many places begin marking down their plants after Memorial Day and in mid-June, with a big markdown after the fourth of July. Larger home improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot frequently have a clearance rack of plant that may not look the prettiest initially, but just need a little extra love and care to be brought back to their best!

3) Blend Hardscapes with Softscapes

A peaceful zen garden involves a blend of the masculine and feminine energy design. A garden made entirely of paved surfaces, brickwork, and stone may feel too formal and unnatural... whereas a completely natural design may lack the structured components that support your desired purpose. Create a mix of the two to foster a sense of balance within your garden.

4) Seek Out Native Plants

Looking for wildflowers? Look up what are your pollinators favorites in your local area. Wanting to plan a tree? Explore what native trees are most content in your chosen environment. Native plants can be a haven for bees, butterflies, birds, and all sorts of other wildlife that support a healthy ecosystem.

5) Add a Simple Water Feature

An area of flowing water can draw the eye and become a little escape that soothes your senses through the heat of summertime. Create a small pond with an children's pool, stock tank, or even an old tire and pond liner. Check your local garage sales or online sale sites for a small tabletop fountain. My favorite affordable project that our kids just LOVE this season has been simple as can be. Just find a large pot at your local dollar store and invest in a $10-15 solar powered fountain and enjoy the fun of having flowing water nearby.

6) Create a Path

If you're able, a simple path around your yard can inspire you to slow down and meander. You may choose to use old bricks or pavers, or spread thick mulch for a natural path that supports healthy soil. Create little pause points along the path if you wish, such as a small bench or meditation stone.

7) Lighting

Illuminate your pathway and featured areas of your garden for evening relaxation. From easily installed inset solar powered lighting in the ground to cafe style lights hung through the trees, the twinkle of lights can add a lovely ambiance for peaceful evenings.

8) Design With Use in Mind

Every person has a different space to work with as well as different ways they love to foster inner peace! If you most enjoy relaxing by the fire with a book in hand, create a simple fire pit and a comfy place to rest. Perhaps your greatest obstacle to enjoying your zen garden is the vehicle traffic nearby and planting some view blocking shrubbery enhances your relaxation. Maybe your inner child comes alive with a well-placed tire swing or your small patio is made more magical with the creation of a tiny fairy garden. Whatever brings you joy and peace... roll with it!

9) Find Places of Inspiration

One can read all the best books and look up designs on Pinterest, but there is nothing that inspires garden creativity quite like the experience of a beautifully designed and cared for garden. Ask the neighbor whose garden you always admire as you walk by if you may have a tour, and if they'd have any advice. Many gardeners love to support and inspire others. Don't forget to heck out your nearest arboretum or botanical center for ideas. If you're near Eastern Iowa, take a leisurely stroll through the sprawling beauty of the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Wishing you two green thumbs as you journey further into the world of peaceful gardenscapes. Local friends, join us this summer for classes and healing circles at the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanical Gardens found here to support your inner peace in a soul-soothing environment! You may just come away with some new ideas for your own garden!



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I'm a writer, energy healer, and plant-obsessed meditating mama on a mission of guiding women to Heal & Rise! For more about my story...

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