The hustle in urban life made many people search for new design concepts that create a part of nature in apartment buildings. Nowadays ideas, creative spaces aiming to reduce the stress of working and focusing the mind are becoming attractive. Did you know that it is possible to adapt the concept of adorable Japanese Zen gardens to the balconies at any scale? Balcony zen gardens could be the solution for those who are living in apartment buildings and looking for a peaceful refuge.
What is a Zen garden?
Zen gardens, also known as Japanese rock gardens, are by a simple definition of meditative spaces meaning to offer serenity Japanese in origin. It is originated from the concept of classic Zen garden is a space for meditation that was initiated by monks. They feature an elegant combination of raked sand, raked gravel, larger rocks, stone, pebbles, and shrubs. As we see in the examples, they are traditionally framed by a wall or fencing. These aim to separate the space from the outside world, isolation is the point. Yet it is not possible to adapt fencing to the casual balcony zen gardens. Another point is to keep it simple while making it look cool. Check out our previous article to get to know more about the Zen garden ideas.
How to pick elements for Balcony Zen Garden?
When it is time to pick the materials for your mini balcony Zen garden, the point that should be underlined is that: Consider the scale and pick the ones that are adaptable to the size of your cozy garden. On one hand, having a miniature one does not take away from the journey and experience. They ultimately serve the same purpose. On the other hand, the organization of space and the choice of materials matter.
1) Rocks and Gravel For Balcony Zen Gardens
Zen gardens are basically composed of a variety of rocks in different sizes and shapes, gravel, and planting. To start with; rocks and stone features are fundamentals to Japanese landscaping design. They have a symbolic meaning in addition to offering calmness. They represent mountains when they are placed upright, or they represent the sea when they are placed flat like stepping stones.
When it comes to the arrangement of materials, one or more groups of three rocks are the most typical layout. A large vertical rock, flanked by two lesser boulders, represents Buddha and his two attendants in one shared triad formation. A tall vertical rock with a reclining rock, a short vertical rock, and a flat rock, and a triad of a tall vertical rock, a reclining rock, and a flat rock are other fundamental pairings. Other key guidelines include selecting rocks that vary in color, shape, and size, avoiding brightly colored rocks that may distract the observer, and ensuring that the grains of the rocks run in the same direction.
White gravel is one of the must-haves of the concept. Sand is a common alternative choice nowadays. However, it is unlikely to replace white gravel completely since it is a more enduring material and less disturbed by rain and wind. White gravels are perfect for balcony Zen gardens since they reflect the character of Zen gardens and are adaptable to balconies at any scale.
2) Planting Choice For Balcony Zen Garden
Balcony Zen gardens are usually combined with a few plants. When it is time to get the plants, let us remind that simplicity and minimalism are essential points. So less will be more. Yet most people like to customize the features and choose to have more plants. The commonly embraced plants for balcony zen gardens are bonsai, topiaries, dwarf conifers, Japanese maples, azaleas, bamboo, sedges, creeping ground covers, ferns, and mosses.
3) Mini Statues
In addition to stones, gravel, and planting, there is one more element that became essential to the balcony zen concept recently which is Buddha statues. Buddha statues became increasingly popular and reflect the character of Japanese Zen gardens despite not having a place in the classic concept. Statues serve as inspiration for meditation and contemplation and become a major focal point. These typically include Buddha figures. Having mini statues will help you change the atmosphere on your balcony.
4) Water Elements
A zen garden is mostly combined with simple water elements which cause no distracting sound since serenity is the point. In the balcony zen garden concept, water elements represent islands, rivers, and waterfalls. The materials always have symbolic meaning referring to natural elements because of the fact that: Japanese people are known for their appreciation of the raw beauty of nature. So they ultimately led to the worldwide famous Japanese landscaping. Even though water elements are not embraced in original classic Zen garden designs, they became common in modern examples. However, they are not adaptable to casual balconies.
5) Pagoda Lantern Lights
Another idea to add should be adding pagoda lanterns. Pagoda lanterns are also remarkable elements contributing to creating a cozy space on your balcony. They fit perfectly in the casual balcony zen gardens since they are adaptable to small scales. These materials will also help create a place for meditation and contemplation.