The Art of Zen with Earth Creation Landscapes

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Finding ‘zen’ in a busy world can be as simple as smart garden design, as Pete Goodlet discovers.

It is a mad, mad world we live in. Even madder as we enter what we call the ‘silly season’. In Australia we are lucky to be blessed with peace and security, and for this we must be grateful.

For as busy as our lives can be, we can – and do – create our own oasis. A place of tranquillity that we call ‘home’.

Where better to escape the madness and sadness of the world than in your own piece of paradise: your garden?

So how do you go about creating a Zen Garden when all around you is chaos?

First, breathe deep and stay calm. Australian organic gardener Jeffrey Hodges suggests when first designing your garden to sit quietly and imagine drifting up and up and surveying your space from above. I find at this point a good G&T or other stimulating substance can be beneficial.

Once you are quite high, imagine your garden just how you would like it to be. Where will you sit in the shade and ponder? Could gazing into a pond of goldfish be delightful in this corner? Will wind chimes drive my neighbours crazy? What will bring me peace?

Come back to earth gently; crashing can be hazardous to your joints. Now get a big pad and draw like crazy. Be wild, let’s call it a bucket list for garden dreams.

Put everything in and then like a lady preparing for a big night out, accessorise, and then pare it back to a refined, little black number with just a touch of bling and the gentle scent of Chanel Number 5. Too many elements will create chaos.

Reflection pools create a sense of calm. In a courtyard space they can be a swimming pool alternative without the need for pool fencing. Of course, diving is out, but wallowing with your favourite book and a good tipple is more than encouraged. The reflective surface will calm your mind and cool your garden.

We are all aware of the benefits of good conversation and the joy of a good laugh.

Create a social area with curved benches, bean bags and deck chairs and gather your friends and family. I once had a family dinner where we were only allowed to compliment each other.

It was a challenge! But it was a night filled with a lot of love and laughter.

I highly recommend it as a theme for Christmas, a time many of us can find stressful. A Zen Garden is about creating a better world, a place to find calm and restore your energies.

Fishponds are the epitome of calm. Make sure you have a comfortable perch, and while away the hours watching the gentle movements and interactions of your underwater companions.

Goldfish will soon get to know you and will rush to the surface to say hello and nibble food from your fingers.

A small productive garden is both good for your soul and for your health. I have lots of large wicking tubs filled with herbs, greens and chillies. Enhance your life and your neighbours with gifts of chilli jam or fresh pesto. Sharing can create a sense of harmony in your neighbourhood.

Flat-leaf parsley makes the perfect garden border and adds freshness to every meal. It’s the perfect addition to reheated meals and dinners from the freezer. Abundant basil can be used for pesto, which freezes brilliantly; simply add good pasta and a home-cooked meal is always on hand.

Now that you are well fed and relaxed, it is time for a touch of scent. Top notes are often reached with beautiful white flowers. A well-trained wall of Star Jasmine: Trachelosperum Jasminoides can provide both privacy and a sweet, musky, sultry scent. Quite an intoxicating mix for heady romantic evenings.

Add a Daphne and a cluster of Gardenias and you will have a garden full of promise and romance.

If creating your own Zen Garden sounds all too difficult, call on the garden gods and contact Stuart at Earth Creation Gardens. The team will design the perfect oasis for you and have your garden looking better the moment they start the transformation.

Your bliss is their wish – kick back, relax and enjoy the Zen.

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