By now, we’ve all heard about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. While the stress and responsibilities of everyday life make it difficult to find time to slow down, dedicating physical space to meditation can help open up mental space too. And science shows that stepping outside can be a restorative, meditative act in itself.
So finding your inner peace might actually be easier than you think—you just need a Zen backyard to help you get there. With a few easy steps, you can turn any outdoor (or indoor!) space you have into a spot for meditation and reflection. Here are a few ideas for taking your oasis to the next level:
How to set up an open-air oasis at home:
1. Find privacy.
Crafting a peaceful escape in your backyard is all about privacy. If you’re open to making big change in the name of privacy, you can put up fencing or fenced screens around your property or add bushes, trees, and tall hedges for a more natural feel. For an easy temporary fix, outdoor umbrellas, screens, curtains, and potted plants can do the trick and provide rich color and texture.
2. Design your space.
Now that you’ve established a private corner of your backyard to make all your own, you can design it for maximum relaxation and calm. Create a dedicated and neat area, whether it’s around the pool, by the garden, or on the patio—where no kids’ toys, unfinished paperwork, or chores are allowed. Section off the area with visual dividers like stone pathways or flowers. The layout of your space affects its calming potential, too. Keep it simple with clean lines.
3. Make it comfortable.
Next up? Cozy accessories. Before you start shopping, think about all the activities you’ll do in your space. Will it be exclusively reserved for meditation? Or do you also want to use it to cozy up with a book after a long day? Keeping this in mind, outfit the garden with an appealing aesthetic and calming feel using crystals, herbs and incense, pillows, and soft lighting. Create a comfortable nook for furniture with an outdoor sofa and ottoman. Finish the look with cushions, throw blankets, and an outdoor rug.
4. Play into nature.
Plants are key to creating a serene outdoor space. They help you stay connected to nature and maintain a peaceful feel. Your plant options are almost endless—snake plants, snapdragons, lavender, ribbon grass, the list goes on. For an evergreen investment, add perennial plants such as day lilies and hydrangeas. Installing a simple bird feeder is another great way to keep nature’s friends coming back to your space.
5. Hone in on sounds.
Whether you live in an active city or a suburban neighborhood, the sounds of everyday life—children playing, construction, and traffic—can make it difficult to reach a meditative state. Outfit your yard with pieces that create calming yet enveloping sounds, such as a small fountain with trickling water, a set of wind chimes blowing in the breeze, or even outdoor speakers to play your favorite relaxation tracks. Test out these different sounds, and find the ones that are most soothing to you.
If you don’t have outdoor space, create an indoor Zen den.
Don’t have an outdoor space you can dedicate to your relaxation garden? You can still use all of these elements to craft a meditation studio inside. This could be a whole room or just a corner of your apartment. Once you’ve found your spot, add all the fixings for an outdoor garden mentioned above, with an indoor twist: Use potted plants, noise machines, and essential oil diffusers to help create your relaxation nook.