10 Meditation Garden Ideas – Get Inspired To Create Your Own Backyard Escape

Are you looking for the best meditation garden ideas for your outdoor space? There are many different types of meditation gardens, and each one has a certain appeal. 

You may prefer a light-hearted butterfly garden that makes you smile as you walk outdoors. Or an elaborate labyrinth, which has a more serious note as you ponder life’s questions. There is a style that is sure to appear to everyone. 

Finding the best style of meditation garden that speaks to your soul will depend on your living space, time constraints, and personal preferences for relaxation and meditation. 

10 Meditation Garden Ideas

Enjoy these ten different styles of meditation gardens. Hopefully one of these ideas will speak to you and inspire you create a relaxing space in your own home or backyard.

1. Cloister Garden

Monks created the cloister gardens in the Christian tradition. Historically, a cloister garden was attached to a religious structure like a church or monastery. Often they were courtyard-like areas with covered walkways. 

The Cloister Garden, San Giovanni degli Eremiti, Palermo, Italy
The Cloister Garden, San Giovanni degli Eremiti, Palermo, Italy

In more modern versions of cloister gardens, they are static blocks of plants with areas to walk through. Many times the plants are edible fruit, vegetable, and herbal plants. A key focus point of cloister gardens is a place to reflect or pray within the space. 

2. Japanese Garden

Japanese culture is well-known for its meditation gardens. Gardens in this tradition focus on bringing all the elements of nature in a scaled-down version. Whether that means one single terra-cotta pot with a bonsai tree or an entire backyard. 

Many Japanese gardens include bridges, ponds and other structures that complement the landscape. The Japenese monks often design their meditation gardens to be viewed from a single location outside the garden. When looking out over at the garden, the viewer should be filled with peace.

japenses man sitting overlloking his meditation garden

To build a Japanese meditation garden, include items from plants, water, and rocks in a balanced way. A key characteristic of Japanese meditation gardens is to maintain simple, clean lines. 

3. Rock Garden

When you think about gardens, your mind may go first to plants. A meditation space doesn’t have to be alive to be useful. The idea is to give you a place to focus the mind. There is a wide spectrum of rock gardens that can bring great peace to your inner world. 

Because rock gardens do not require sunlight, water, or other upkeep, they can be a great indoor meditation garden option. The rock gardens are also easy to scale. You can build a mini zen garden that fits on your office desk or go as big as a section of your backyard. 

zen rocks piled in a tower in a sand meditation garden

Origins of Zen Rock Gardens

Zen rock gardens, as we think of them today, have Japanese roots. In addition to rocks (and sometimes plants), zen rock gardens often include sand which can be manipulated with a rake or your hands. This motion is a way of moving meditation. 

4. Labyrinth Garden

Labyrinth meditation gardens are characterized by walkable circles or mazes. Usually, the shape is outlined with plants, rocks, and trinkets to provide visual interest. 

How to Use a Labyrinth Garden

To utilize the meditative function of a labyrinth garden, start walking from the outside of the circle and follow the path. Once you hit the middle, begin walking back out. You can repeat the process as long as it feels good. 

Walking is meant to enhance the meditation and can be great for people who struggle to sit still and clear their mind. 

a stone labryinth with grass growing on either side fo the walkways

Schools have started to utilize the labyrinth in a constructive way as well. Montessori schools in particular have been added both indoor and outdoor labyrinths to their grounds.

The labyrinth serves as a place of inspiration, to spark creativity. They can also be used as a way to calm down after a stressful situation. Children are naturally drawn to the design of the labyrinth and while they may want to run to the middle, a slow walk through the maze help both the mind and body focus on the present.

5. Water Feature Meditation Garden

Moving water has been proven scientifically to improve human’s overall health and sense of well-being. Soothing water features are among some unique meditation garden ideas that don’t require a green thumb. 

relaxing fountain surrounded by luxh greenery

Ideas for a Moving Water Feature

Water feature ideas to utilize as a meditation garden include a fountain, a waterfall, a fish tank, or a pond. 

6. Virtual Meditation Garden

If your space or budget options are tight, you might find it helpful to use technology to build a virtual meditation garden. A virtual garden is also a fantastic option for an indoor meditation garden. 

Public Online Virtual Gardens

Many public gardens and botanical centers have options available to view their grounds virtually. Try out these fantastic options for a virtual meditation:

A virtual tour of the Conservatory inside Tropics House:
This virtual tour of the Tropics House inside the Conservatory lets you explore the meditation space by moving the arrows

7. Public Parks and Gardens

Sometimes building your own meditation garden is overwhelming or even impossible under your current circumstances. Alternatively, perhaps you are just looking for a fresh perspective that comes with new scenery. 

Public parks and gardens are the perfect option as an outdoor meditation garden. 

How to Find Public Parks and Gardens in Your Area

The American Public Gardens Association has a plethora of resources to locate a wide variety of public gardens. There is an active search function to find a public park that suits your preferences. 

The National Park Service provides a search function and virtual tours of parks across the U.S. You can search either by keyword or state. 

8. Container Meditation Garden

Not everyone has the benefit of ground or land to plant a garden. You can build a full and supple meditation garden by utilizing containers like planters and terra-cotta pots. 

This planting style allows you to create a zen meditation space on a balcony, deck, or even in a sunny window. 

small bonsai tree growing in a container

Meditative Plants That Do Well In Containers

Many plants thrive when planted in containers. The act of caring for these plants can be a meditation in itself. 

Plants that do well in containers:

  • Water lilies 
  • Berries like strawberries or raspberries 
  • Hops 
  • Succulents 
  • Bonsai Trees 
  • Meyer Lemon Plant 
  • Japanese Maples 
  • Ornamental Grasses 

9. Butterfly Garden

In addition to calming features like plants, rocks, and water, gardens can also attract calming wildlife to watch. Spending some time watching butterflies flutter through a garden is a lovely, calming meditation practice. 

butterflies gathering in glass dish with oranges in the garden

Elements that Attract Butterflies

According to HGTV experts, there are four main elements to include to attract butterflies: 

  • Still water source like a bird feeder filled with sand
  • A sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind
  • Rocks for the butterflies to sunbathe 
  • Attractive plants like fennel, milkweed, black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, and other brightly colored flowers. 

10. Vegetable Garden

We often classify vegetable gardens as a practical source of food, not a meditative space. The truth is, though, that a vegetable garden can be both.

You can walk through or sit still in a vegetable garden and form a connection with nature. Also, the act of caring for vegetable plants has its own benefits as it takes your focus away from yourself on places it on the plant. 

Which Meditation Garden Idea Speaks to You?

collage of three meditation garden ideas - a japanses garden, butterfly garden and small shelter overlooking a pond

The meditation garden is designed as a place of reflection where you can step out of your hectic life and into a quieter calm space. 

The best style of meditation garden for you will be the one that speaks to you the most. As you scroll through the different meditation garden ideas, which one made you smile or made you relax just a little? 

The important thing is to realize that you have a huge selection of options and can alternate among them as it feels good. Find the one that suits your unique personality, then design your own backyard mediation garden area to enjoy whenever you need a quiet place to reflect.

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