Decorate Zen-Style Garden Sheds

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Eng, Lynn, Maria Quinney and 2 others

In the past, garden sheds were used for nothing more than storing tools, pots, garden supplies and seedlings. Today, however, more and more sheds are assuming a decorative look and a lot of them are constructed according to a theme. Modern sheds today look like miniature red barns, pretty cottages, log cabins and Cape Cod cottages.

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There are many reasons why sheds have become prettier over the years. First of all, yards have become smaller so you can no longer hide that shed away from everyone's sight. If you have a shed, it's a sure thing people will see it. So, you have to make it look nice.

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Second, the garden shed has become the most practical place for relaxing after a few hours of sweaty gardening. After you're done with the weeding and watering and digging, you want to relax a bit without having to shower and change first. The perfect place for this would be the garden shed. This means the appearance and the use of the shed will have to be revised accordingly.

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If you are thinking of adding a garden shed to your lawn or sprucing up the one you already have, go for a Zen style garden shed. Zen style is one of the easiest ways to transform your shed into a haven of serenity.

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Benefits of a Zen Style Garden Shed

Apart from the peaceful beauty that the style brings, there are several advantages to adopting the Zen style of decorating. This is especially true in the case of a garden shed because you can create a complete environment even with limited space.

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  1. 1
    Zen decorating can be very economical
    The Zen design is extremely simple. It capitalizes on the creative use of a few selected materials which happen to be easily available. All you need are some rocks, sand, a few strategically placed objects, plants with well defined outlines, and your imagination.
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  2. 2
    Zen sheds adapt to various environments
    No matter what the style of your house and garden, you can create a Zen nook for your garden shed. Zen is basically an unobtrusive style and it does not require a lot of space. Zen will not take over your environment; it will be content to shelter your garden shed in a peaceful corner.
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  3. 3
    Zen sheds and their surrounding areas are low maintenance
    A great part of the Zen appearance of your garden shed will be due to the small garden area around it. This area will have mostly rocks, pebbles, and sand - none of which you will have to trim or water. The few plants you need can be slow-growing ones that do not need a lot of water or pruning. This is one space where you will spend more time relaxing than toiling.
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  4. 4
    Zen sheds can help you embark on a new discipline
    Your Zen garden shed and its surrounding area can easily help you do more than relax in the usual way. You can actually make this the site where you can begin to meditate and focus. If you so desire, your Zen garden shed can help you install elements that will help you open your mind.
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Principles to Remember when Creating a Zen Style Garden Shed


To create a Zen style garden shed, there are several basic principles to bear in mind. These principles are actually applied to all aspects of life if it is to be lived the Zen way. When used in designing and decorating a garden shed, these principles will transform this structure from one that is fit only for storage to one that can add calm and beauty to your entire home environment.

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  • Simplicity or Kanso. Simplicity or the elimination of unnecessary clutter is the most basic principle for the task at hand. Don't think in terms of collecting a lot of décor for your garden. Plain lines and skipping the unimportant is the key to a successful Zen garden shed.
  • Asymmetry or Fukinsei. The challenge of Zen is to achieve balance through the dynamic use and placement of what is asymmetrical. This is actually both the difficult and the beneficial part of a Zen garden shed. You won't have to find pairs of anything but you will have to feel your way through the placement of a lone bush, a rock, and an interesting piece of wood.
  • Understatement or Shibumi. When you put up or refurbish your garden shed, you won't have to unduly emphasize anything. Instead, use subtlety in presenting the focal points of your garden shed area.
  • Natural or Shizen.
    • Allow the spontaneous beauty of objects to become self-evident when arranging this area of your garden.
    • Allow plants to show off their graceful curves without crowding them.
  • Suggestion or Yugen. A Zen garden shed suggests instead of blatantly revealing everything. When people look at the shed and the surrounding area, they should feel that there is more to be discovered.
  • Freedom from convention or Datsuzoku. With Zen, both the décor and general outline of the area can be a result of creativity rather than convention or formula.
  • Tranquility or Seijaku. The litmus test of successfully putting up a Zen like garden shed is when an atmosphere of calm and stillness has been created in what would have been an ordinary repository of gardening tools and containers.

How to Proceed with the Project

  1. 1
    Assess the appearance of the garden shed
    If you are buying a new shed, get something plain instead of one that practically screams Hansel and Gretel. If you just want to give your old one a new look, be consoled that unless your shed has been constructed in a very distinctive style, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders.
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  • 2
    Remove unnecessary curlicues that clutter the shed
    Straight and sparse lines are the rule of the day. If you are repainting, use solid neutral colors. This will be enough to make your shed Zen ready.
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  • 3
    Make an outline for the area that will surround your garden shed and be part of its Zen environment
    You can do this by pouring sand over the perimeter of the area, or planting a few pegs in the ground.
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  • 4
    Once you have drawn the outline surrounding the garden shed, remove the grass and plants inside the marked area
    Make sure you uproot all the weeds and plants totally so they don't begin sprouting just when you think everything is in place.
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  • 5
    Dig three inches below the surface of the delineated area
    Place black plastic sheets over the area you have marked to make sure the weeds do not grow back. Allow the sheets to cover the ground completely by overlapping them and then allow them to go up the sides of the area you dug out. Make sure they do not go over the edge of the garden and show.
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  • 6
    Fill the area with sand or gravel
    Once this is done, step back and take a look at the entire picture, from the simplified shed down to the sand-covered area. Decide where you can put focal points so that will either lead people to the garden shed or a resting area near it.
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  • 7
    Choose the visual elements that will inhabit the area
    Remember that these objects have to be of different heights and sizes. For height you might want a tall bush or a potted tree with graceful limbs. A few solid rocks will give your garden shed area stability while some low growing plants will give it life.
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  • 8
    Step back a second time and see if the shed and the surrounding areas have the calm, uncluttered yet dynamic look you seek.
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  • 9
    Design the sand or gravel by giving it texture with a rake
    Don't go overboard - just give it some visual flow.
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  • 10
    Now that you are done with the ambiance, go inside the shed and apply the first Zen principle there
    Get rid of unnecessary clutter. Eliminate anything that is inessential. Make sure everything you store is arranged in neat practical piles. This way you can enjoy your shed from the inside out.
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  • Tips, Tricks and Warnings

    • The enemy of decorating your garden shed along the principles of Zen is accumulating too many things. Discipline yourself to center on what is essential.
    • Your garden shed won't stay Zen very long unless you make sure there is a place for everything. Make an honest evaluation of the things you need and make sure you have space for them.
    • Be sure to pull out all the weeds by the roots when you prepare the area. Weeds sprouting out will be a major undertaking later.
    • You will be tempted to buy just one more jar or statue or bonsai. Make it a rule to get rid of something when you acquire something new.

    Decorating a garden shed in the style of Zen is fun and challenging. Most of all, it will give you a special place of calm and balance instead of just a structure to park your wheelbarrow.

    Questions and Answers

    Ideas to decorate your shed?

    You can use the following pictures to give you an idea on how a zen styled shed could look like:

    NOTE: Please go to the links for the pictures

    Can you put a tree that sheds in a zen garden?

    Zen gardens also called as Japanese gardens consist of plants, waters, sands and stones and it originally came from Japanese Zen monasteries. Zen gardens traditionally have eight main elements and each of these elements have their own purpose. These eight main elements in zen gardens are water, waterfalls, flowers or plants, trees, islands, stones, sands and bridges. In regards to your query, you can put a tree that sheds in a zen garden according to your preference because one of the principles in making a zen garden is you can actually put any type of trees in your zen garden. The most commonly used trees in zen gardens are cherry, pine, bamboo, and flowering plum. Different trees used in zen gardens hold different meanings in Shinto religion. To sum it up, you can definitely use any type of tree in your zen garden.

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    Article Info

    Categories : Gardening

    Recent edits by: Ana Garcia, Maria Quinney, Lynn

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