Martin has spent 14 years on his Japanese-inspired oasis (Picture: SWNS)
A little birdie has told us that Zen-themed gardens are all the rage this year – and why wouldn’t they be?
Zen literally means peaceful and calm, two things you definitely want to feel when you’re lounging on your patio.
Martin, a dad-of-two from Brislington Village, Bristol, began working on the garden all the way back in 2009.
He built the garden on a budget, spending around £50 per month in the past 14 years.
Martin is yet to visit Japan, but plans to go in 2025 (Picture: Tom Wren/SWNS)
He studied Japanese garden culture after going on a course in 2009 (Credits: Tom Wren/SWNS)
‘I do all the work over the winter, I built the garden on a budget,’ he said.
‘I did everything in the garden apart from the lanterns and recently added a Zen garden [like the ones] monks use to meditate,’ he added.
Martin, who’s saving up to visit Japan in 2025, studied Japanese garden culture after going on a course in Dorset in 2009.
Clearly, it worked. Martin has had plenty of compliments from Japanese visitors, with some calling the garden a home away from home.
‘One Japanese visitor couldn’t believe that I made everything myself, including a replica of a famous temple,’ he said.
‘I was visited by a YouTuber last year who came to the UK to visit it.
‘After the pandemic, some visitors from Japan and Asia said it felt like being at home when they couldn’t travel.’
Martin has even built a teahouse and a meditation garden ‘for monks’ (Credits: Tom Wren/SWNS)
Martin’s garden has been called a home away from home by Japanese visitors (Credits: Tom Wren/SWNS)
Now, Martin has opened up the garden to visitors, so he can keep investing in it as well as donating to charity.
He will open it officially as part of NGS (National Garden Scheme).
‘We have had around 22 visitors per hour,’ he said.
‘I open it for charity but also to put money into the garden.’
Martin’s beautiful space is even open to the public (Picture: Tom Wren/SWNS)
Martin hopes to keep investing in the garden and plans to visit Japan in 2025 (Credits: Tom Wren/SWNS)
Martin has been ‘overwhelmed by all the positive attention on his passion project.
‘I would have never dreamed creating something in my garden would go so far in the UK and go even further in Japan,’ he said.
‘I have made some wonderful friends from Japan.
‘I get a lot of people contacting me through my Facebook page, YouTube channel and website saying I have given them inspiration to go out in their gardens and create their own Japanese garden or finish something they started years ago.
‘They also say after seeing my Facebook post and reels they feel calm, happy and [it takes] their mind off problems in their life.’
Sounds ideal, no?
How to build your own Zen garden using feng shui
‘Having a clutter-free garden is essential to provide a good flow of energy and a healthy space to relax,’ says Anna.
‘Feng shui promotes a clear mindset and an organised space reflects those feelings.’
Use natural materials
‘Natural materials often have symbolic associations in feng shui,’ says Sam.
‘For example, wood is associated with growth, vitality, and flexibility.
‘Similarly, stone is associated with stability, grounding, and strength.’
Incorporate the wind and water
‘The term feng shui translates directly as ‘wind water’, feng meaning wind and shui meaning water,’ says Anna.
‘This corresponds to the idea of human life being connected with the environment and these elements which promote balance, comfort and overall good health.’
Curate the perfect plant mix
‘Incorporating healthy plants and flowers into your garden is important to encourage good feng shui as they promote balance and positivity,’ says Anna.
‘However, the types of plants you incorporate are essential to achieve the positive flow of chi.
‘Try to avoid any plants that are spikey or have harsh edges, for example, cacti, as they can easily disrupt the flow and energy in your garden.’
Use lighting to enhance your space
‘Lighting is a big element of feng shui landscapes, traditionally it can be seen using paper lanterns to create harmony and bring good luck,’ says Anna.
‘However, there is now a much broader range of lighting options available. Placing this lighting around your garden will provide a guideway in the dark and attract good energy flow.
‘Elements of fire can benefit feng shui as well as lighting your garden. Installing a fire pit can provide a great area to relax with guests under the night sky.’
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Feng shui is your friend.