By Jodi Torpey
My garden in arid Colorado never will be confused with the lush tropical Chinese Garden of Friendship in Sydney, Australia. That traditional landscape includes the elements of earth, fire, water, metal, and wood—all working together to create a peaceful, flowing environment.
Even though I can’t duplicate that garden’s harmony and balance, it is possible to borrow some of the principles to cultivate a tranquil, meditative space. All it takes is a little imagination to mimic some of the shapes and patterns of the garden using smooth rocks, dwarf conifers, or framing an interesting view with a gate.
Instead of large plantings among small stones, create smaller pockets of colorful annuals between large rocks that have interesting or dramatic shapes. Another option is to construct a patterned rock path that winds its way through the landscape.
Add a few simple structures that emphasize form and function. A trellis made from eight lengths of bamboo is striking when placed in front of a blank wall.
Set a few large containers of flowering plants in unexpected places throughout the garden. Containers add an extra dimension to the planting space and help draw attention to something beautiful, or away from something distracting.
A bench to sit and contemplate is essential to a tranquility garden. Select any wood, metal, or concrete seat and place it in within eyeshot of a calm view. Use the space to catch your breath, collect your thoughts, or simply immerse yourself in the natural world.
Once all the elements are in place, just add water. From large waterfalls to tabletop fountains, the sound of flowing water is the finishing touch.
Please take a moment to contemplate the tranquil beauty of this waterfall, one of the many highlights at the Chinese Garden of Friendship. I hope it will inspire you.
See more by this author.