Create your own Zen garden
If a calm, visual space is appealing, create your own Zen garden.
Do some homework. Study Zen designs in magazines and books, including those of the 15th-century contemplation karesansui gardens at Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Use these ideas to help create a garden to your liking and that suits your needs.
What makes a Zen garden beautiful? Aesthetic qualities include asymmetry, simplicity, tranquility, patina, naturalness and freedom from convention, says landscape architect Keiji Asakura (asakurarobinson.com). Keep in mind that the Zen value rests on things that are not there, barely there or implied. Rocks and cascading plants, for example, can imply water.
Houston Chronicle 2-26-2010