What’s a Minimalist Garden?

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.

If you’re the kind of person who can’t handle clutter, no doubt the clean lines of minimalist architecture and decor appeal to your aesthetic tastes. However, you don’t need to reserve minimalist design for the indoors. You take the practice outside to your garden as well.

A minimalist garden offers many advantages, from providing a cozy place to meditate to potentially creating an additional income stream. Here’s how you can embrace more minimalist design into your life while building your perfect outdoor oasis.

What Is Minimalism?

What is minimalism, anyway? Does the design philosophy place limits on how many seeds you can plant and how many sculptures or water features your garden can contain? Does it refer to size, requiring a space less than 10 feet by 10 feet in diameter?

Although you can certainly place artificial restrictions on your design, you’re missing the point. Minimalism, in essence, embraces freedom — freedom from the worry stemming from the obsessive collection of material things. Minimalism doesn’t demand “Thou shalt own no more than two dozen plants!” — but it does require you to select said flora with care and deliberation.

In minimalist gardening as in decor, you seek the beauty in everyday objects, but each item also serves a specific purpose. Just as a prized framed photograph may add a focal point to an otherwise white wall, a single tree or rose bush can create the same impact outdoors. Like a teapot can serve a utilitarian use while adding elegance to a stovetop, said tree could also provide fruit if you enjoy tangerines or apples.

Benefits of a Minimalist Garden

Minimalist gardens have a variety of benefits. One of them is creating an outdoor space perfect for practicing yoga or meditation. When plotting your design, you can include a small grassy patch on which to place your mat. Alternately, you can place a bench near a water feature or particularly shady grove for quiet contemplation of nature.

You can also use your minimalist garden to add to your household budget. For example, financial planning experts recommend creating an emergency fund consisting of three to six months’ salary, but what if your income barely covers your living expenses?

The clean lines of minimalist gardens make them the perfect place for starting seedlings to transport to local farmers markets to sell. You can also harvest the fruits of your labor and sell them the same way, or even set up your own roadside fruit and veggie stand in the summer. Consumers today will pay a premium for organically grown produce, especially when they know the source.

Finally, a minimalist garden can transform your backyard from gas-guzzling lawnmower fodder into a xeriscaped oasis that saves money and the planet. The word “xeriscaping” comes from the Greek meaning “dry view,” and it refers to the practice of using native, drought-resistant plants instead of water-thirsty grass for landscaping. By reducing your water consumption, you’ll save money on your monthly irrigation bill. Plus, you’ll minimize lawnmower emissions and reclaim your weekends from backbreaking labor.

Ideas for Designing Your Garden

Do you need to have ample space to create a minimalist garden? Absolutely not! In fact, even if you dwell in an apartment, you can create one on a sunny balcony or even a window ledge.

Regardless of available space, your first step in creating your oasis is clearing the area. If using a porch, find a place to store your bike in a closet or the garage. If using a windowsill, clear away all other clutter and invest in an aesthetically pleasing set of simple planting pots. If you have more space available, till the soil and add organic fertilizer and mulch — or compost, if you have your own bin at home.

Then, select your plants carefully. Some do better in containers than others, so keep this in mind if planting in pots. Each plant should serve a dual purpose — it should provide beauty as well as practical use. For indoor gardens, you can’t go wrong with a variety of fragrant herbs, such as lavender, dill and chives. For outdoor gardens, the sky is the limit.

Pick a theme for your garden. You may design certain areas for food crops and others for meditation if you have more space. If you plant primarily for aesthetics, consider flowers all various hues of a certain color. Think pink-bloomed cherry trees paired with early-blooming tulips in similar shades for a springtime celebration patch, for example.

Finally, add seating, sculptures or water features. A small koi pond adds meditative bliss and keeps with the Japanese origins of minimalist design. Works of art need not cost much — swap marts sell inexpensive ceramic sculptures — but transform your garden into a plot worthy of museum grounds.

Creating the Perfect Minimalist Retreat

A minimalist garden provides the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of office and city life. It also provides a way to pad your income if you already have a side hustle or lack the time for one. Follow the tips above and get started on creating your oasis today.