How to Design Spirit Gardens


A spirit garden refers to a garden designed to enhance the natural spiritual energy of the land. Size varies from mini-gardens for contemplation and relaxation to large expanses of the landscape with paths and secluded walkways. According to garden designer Dan Pearson, a spirit garden should bring out the spirit of the place and be designed with naturally occurring plant species and natural elements such as stone, wood and water.

Step 1

Examine the area for the spirit garden to determine the natural elements already present. Look for rocks and stones with aesthetically pleasing features, natural hills or valleys within the landscape and wildflowers or vegetation that already thrive in the area.

Step 2

Sit in the area to get a feel for the land. Some areas exude a natural sense of relaxation, while others are energizing. Although altering the energy of the area may be possible, most agree that enhancing the natural energy is more effective than trying to create new energy.

Step 3

Jot down your feelings and emotions while relaxing in the area. Refer to your notes when making decisions to add plants or other features, such as waterfalls or stone features. If the objects and flowers you wish to add enhance those overall feelings and emotions, they are probably a good choice for your spirit garden.

Step 4

Select plants with colors that match the energy or spirit of the area. Bright reds and yellows exude energy and can bring energizing life to the spirit garden. Blues and purples add depth and create a calming area for meditation. According to Dan Pearson, green should be the most abundant, color as it promotes relaxation.

Step 5

Arrange plants so that each plant stands out and its features are easily viewed. Natural beauty depends in part on the specific characteristics of each plant or element in the garden. Overcrowding causes competition for space and detracts from the special qualities you have chosen to exhibit.

Step 6

Place logs or benches strategically in the spirit garden. Wood and stone blend with the natural environment and enhance the energy of the area. Avoid seating that is obtrusive or seems out of place. Log or stone benches, large flat rocks for seating or simple twig furniture or stone structures work best.

Step 7

Plant flowers and shrubs native to your location. Not only do they thrive in your soil and your climate, they share the same energy as the surroundings. Part of the appeal of spirit gardens comes from creating a place that appears as though it has sprung from nature.

Step 8

Add a spirit house, if you prefer. According to Minnie S. Kansman, author of “Spirit Gardens Rekindling Our Nature Connection,” people in Bali and Thailand follow their Buddhist beliefs to build elaborate spirit houses to provide a home for nature spirits within the garden. Visiting the spirit house daily and offering food and prayers brings happiness and well-being to the home.

Things You'll Need

  • Native plants Natural furniture (twig, wood, stone) Spirit house


  • Garden Inspiration: Garden Designer Dan Pearson Explains Spirit
  • “Spirit Gardens Rekindling Our Nature Connection” (Chapter 1); Minnie S. Kansman; 2007

Who Can Help

  • Asia Web: A Guide to Spirit Houses
  • A Little Shabby Always Chic: How to Make Fairy Houses
Keywords: design spirit garden, build spirit garden, spirit of place, garden spirits

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.