If you read my guide to making a Zen garden, you might wonder just what exactly the benefits of Rock Garden Landscaping are. After all, the process of making one is totally different to regular old gardening (although I personally love both and find both immensely relaxing).
With this type of garden, it’s really not about how beautiful it ends up looking. Instead, the benefit of Rock Garden Landscaping is all in the process of actually making it. It’s not about beauty, it’s not about flowers, and it’s not about functionality [if you’re looking for a really good functional garden idea, read my guide to creating a garden meditation area].
No, the benefit of rock garden landscaping is entirely about the meditative process. When you’re raking that sand, you’re doing it mindfully, consciously aware of the process. You’re basically doing the same thing as you do when doing an active meditation, such as Zen Walking.
It’s about relaxation.
Funnily enough, I was looking online for the benefits of rock garden landscaping just a moment ago, and all the articles I found were about how a rock garden makes your garden a better place.
Having a Japanese rock garden does indeed add something to your actual garden. But this it not the point in making them! The point is that making a rock garden is a mindful process. It is a process that trains us to be more creative, to be in the moment, to relax, and to be mindful.
Let me share with you the real benefits of rock garden landscaping! It really isn’t that different to the health benefits of meditation.
The Actual Benefits Of Rock Garden Landscaping
In essence, Japanese rock garden landscaping’s benefits are similar to most other forms of movement meditation. For instance, they are similar to the benefits of tai chi.
1: Relieves Stress
No question about it: The number one benefit of rock garden landscaping is that it relieves stress.
When you make a Zen garden you meditate on the raking of the sand or gravel. This is a deeply relaxing meditation. It relieves stress. The repetitive movement calms the mind, help you to find inner peace.
The slow movement of the rake up and down the garden serves to slow your mind down. And the sand create one long sheet of white so that the only thing we see is the sand. In other words there aren’t the usual distractions all around you, just one long wave of white, like an ocean. The visual simplicity of the Zen garden makes it incredibly relaxing. And the gentle bodily movement you make when raking are very calming.
2: Appreciation of beauty
Positive Psychology (a field of psychology that focuses on happiness) lists the “appreciation of beauty” as one of their 24 character strengths and virtues . If you appreciate beautiful things, you are more likely to be happy. This is why happy people tend to appreciate things like animals and flowers and other natural forms of beauty.
When you make a Japanese rock garden you will train your mind to appreciate three particular kinds of beauty:
- Kanso (simplicity)
- Fukinsei (asymmetry)
- Yugen (sutble grace)
- Read more about these 3 on PresentationZen
Japanese rock garden landscaping benefits us by making us more aware of these kinds of beauty, which in turn leads to increased levels of happiness.
3: It activates your creative brain
Making a Zen garden is a really enjoyable creative experience (see our guide to yoga and meditation for creativity for more ideas).
Whether you have a small desktop Zen garden or a full-size outdoor Zen rock garden, you can express your creativity as you find new patterns for the sand or gravel, and new positions for the rocks.
It isn’t a complicated form of creativity like writing a novel or painting a masterpiece. It is a simply kind of creativity that makes us feel more openly creative, more fun, the same way kids feel when they draw crayon picture. That simple sense of creative freedom.
4: Rock garden landscaping improves your discipline
Making a Zen rock garden is one thing. Maintaining a Zen rock garden is something else
. It takes discipline and patience.
This is especially true if you have an outdoor Zen garden made of sand—in which case the sand will move dependent on weather conditions and you will have to be diligent in maintaining the correct patterns.
5: Slows you down
My personal favorite benefit of rock garden landscaping is that it slows me down. Everything about a rock garden is designed to quieten your mind. That long sheet of white sand. The gentle movement of the rake. The gentle ripple effects that you create, that remind you of the ocean. The methodical placement of the rocks. It’s incredibly simple. And therein lies the beauty. For simplicity makes us feel more relaxed, more calm, and yes, it makes us slow down. After coming home from a hectic day and work, there’s nothing like tending to a rock garden. It’s perfect for slowing and calming the mind.
Those are my favorite benefits of rock garden landscaping
Rock gardens are really about the simplicity. It’s just so nice to get away from the noise of this modern society and the constant business. It’s so utterly relaxing. And while there are no doubt benefits of having a rock garden (they d make a nice addition to the garden) the main benefit is the effect they have on the mind.
So, slow down, relax, be mindful, and love your rock garden. Because there are big benefits of rock garden landscaping!
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