When renovating, the perfect last touch to your home design would be to include a place where you can relax and unwind after a long day at work. Every one of us needs a place where we can enjoy nature and feel calm.

Isn’t that what you’ve also been looking for? Who would give up on the chance to connect to their inner self and feel inner peace? Don’t give up on this opportunity and start up on a new renovation project; a Japanese garden.

The tradition of Japanese gardens started off when the elites of Japan needed a place to meditate and reflect on the deteriorating conditions of their country. But soon, the concept became rooted into their culture.

Such a place not only adds oomph to your home design but this renovation can be the highlight of your property. So why wait? Get down to it and create a peaceful place where you can find your Zen.

The first thing you need to do before you start this renovation is to learn the basics of a Japanese garden. The curator of Japanese Hill and Pond Garden in Brooklyn believes that only about a 100 – 200 people in the world have Japanese gardens that pay homage to its culture and simplicity. They are the ones who have actually captured the true essence of a Japanese garden.

So let’s start off with the first Japanese garden; a rock garden.

Rock Garden

Unlike other gardens, a rock garden is not suitable to play or have picnics in. The garden has been used for centuries by monks to meditate and perform their daily rituals. The place has great importance in Zen Buddhism, although it is a barren garden. There is a lot of sand, so you have to think before creating a rock garden if you get a lot of windy days. In fact, a rock garden completely defies the underlying principles of a garden, as it does not include any of the elements a normal garden has. So keep this in mind before you start the renovation project. If your home design allows for such an addition, only then can you incorporate it.

Rock gardens won’t have lush green grass and do not include flowers. In fact, it’s just rocks and lots of sand. The garden is made to look like mountains, animals or even trees, which are symbolized by rocks. The sand is made to look like rivers or bodies of water; an effect that is achieved through sand raking.

Then how can this barren garden highlight your home design? Of course it can! The simplicity of the design is what makes it even more aesthetically pleasing. The garden reflects human nature; how we provide meaning to the gifts of nature, the things which doesn’t necessarily have any importance in our life. To think, a rock is just a rock, but in a rock garden, we can use it to symbolize anything. As long as we perceive the true nature of things, we can look beyond their appearance.

To start off this renovation, we need to know how to create a rock garden. First of all, here is a list of materials you’re going to need.

Materials Needed


  • Moss
  • Bricks
  • Rocks
  • Shrubs
  • Sand/Gravel
  • Wooden Rake
  • Garden Lamps
  • Landscaping Tarp

Once you’ve bought all of these things, you’re ready to go.

ü Decide on the garden’s shape and size

The first step is to evaluate your backyard. You wouldn’t want to imbalance your home design, so it’s important to observe the area and decide on the best strategy. Although most rock gardens are built in square or rectangular shape, you can create it in the way you want it. After all, it’s your renovation project. A circular or irregular shaped rock garden will also help you get the same level of peace and quiet, as long as it doesn’t go against your home design.

ü Clear the area

Clear away everything from the backyard. There should be no grass or any other plants left in the area. If you want, you can use additional material such as moss and shrubs to add a greener touch to your renovation project.

Once you’ve cleared the area, it’s time to start shoveling. Not the whole garden. Just dig a 2 – 3 inch deep trench around the border.

ü Create the border

Once the trench is made, lay down the landscaping tarp over the whole garden and make sure to tuck the edges in the trench. This way, weeds won’t be able to grow and the design of your Japanese rock garden won’t be foiled.

Next, use rocks to hold down the tarp and using a combination of bricks and rocks, create a border for your garden. Other options for borders are low wooden fences. You can also use bamboo, which is widely used for rock garden borders.


ü Lay it all down

Use sand or gravel to cover the whole area; you can also use a combination of both. If you live in a windy area, or get a lot of rain, gravel would be the right choice for your renovation project. Put out some rocks in the garden, create the mountains. And then use a wooden rake to create intricate designs in the sand. But make sure that they resemble ripple or symbolizes flowing water

ü The final touches

This is the optional part, you can either do it to increase the emphasis on your home design or just stop your renovation project. If you wish to add the last touches, you can hand some garden lamps and add a little moss here and there. Take a look around and relish the calm ambiance this renovation project gives to your home design. Enjoy the inner peace and let your Zen out!