Build Your Own Zen Garden

Achieve a tranquil space where you can savor the fresh air and admire the sunset

Photography: Mark Chester Ang | Pexels

There’s no denying the beauty of this sprawling property. From the impressive architecture to the stunning interiors, real estate developer Irene Enriquez made sure that the owners will come home to a special retreat where they can unwind, get creative, and simply admire the serene surroundings.

Beyond the inviting rooms and cozy nooks within the home, it's quite a given that many will fall in love with the lower and upper decks of the space. The former is perfect for parties and get-togethers, while the latter is meant for rest and relaxation. If you’ve always wanted to have your own Zen garden where you can meditate and admire the view of the rising sun, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Check your home's structure and consult with a professional.

A roof deck provides an ideal spot where one can enjoy the view and the cool breeze. Before embarking on such a huge project, make sure your home's structure is built to accommodate an extra level. For this project, Irene had to consult with the engineer and architect to make sure there will be no problems with the load before construction. The architect can suggest an ideal design and the slope of the flooring to avoid pooling. "Do a lot of research to see if this is the ideal kind of layout for your property. Meet with your engineer, architect, designer, landscape artist, and a reputable waterproofing contractor so you can properly relay your ideas and come up with the best layout and design for your roof deck," shares Irene.

RL Tip: It's important to meet and work with a trusted waterproofing contractor as they can suggest the best waterproofing method for your roof deck as well as other ways to avoid damage from leaks. It's also essential to have an ample drainage to avoid clogs and problems.

For waterproofing contractors, you can get in touch with SJ Waterproofing Services and Niceman, Inc.

2. Gather your pegs and inspiration.

Log on to Pinterest and search for Zen garden ideas you can save as references. also has photos of pretty outdoor areas that can inspire you to build your green corner. If you have a vision for the space, feel free to discuss it with a design professional. You can combine two to three ideas or take down notes from your trips—it's your project, so don't forget to add a personal touch.

3. Identify the function of your Zen garden.

While most gardens serve as a place where you can tend to a few plants, there are homeowners who use the space to entertain, do meditation, and enjoy a few refreshments. During the planning stage of your project, let the design professional know your plans for the garden. Informing them about the activities you intend to do can make it easier to finalize the list of materials, equipment, and furniture needed for the space.

In the home we featured, concrete slabs were used as seating options. These were painted gray to add to the calming feel of the roof deck.

4. Make a list of plants you wish to take care of.

Ensure a flourishing green space by opting for plants that require minimal care and maintenance. Aside from working with succulents and cacti, research on the kinds of plants that thrive in our climate. "Ask your landscape architect about sturdy plants that can withstand winds and thrive under the sun," shares Irene. For the upper deck in our feature home, she used varieties of fern, Elephant Ear Plant, Cypress, and Juniper. "If you're planning to put a trellis, you can pick pleasant-smelling vines and colorful flowers to achieve a naturally fragrant and colorful roof deck," she adds.

RL Tip: You can work with artificial turf to create the feel of grass in your space. These are cost-efficient and easy to maintain, too.

5. Invest in upkeep.

Maintaining a garden requires tender loving care, time, and effort. To truly maximize the space you have and keep it envy-worthy, a few simple tips can go a long way. Irene shares the following:

  • Choose non-skid tiles to avoid accidents.
  • When shopping for outdoor furniture, opt for water resistant and colorfast fabrics—so that you can relax even if it rains. Colorfastness refers to the resistance of the color or dye within the fabric is to removal. If you have colorfast fabrics, you'll be assured that it won't bleed or fade.
  • Maintain the drains regularly to avoid clogging.
  • Ensure your safety and that of your guests by installing railings (stainless steel and thick tempered glass are two great options).

More on

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Start A Pocket Garden Today!

10 Affordable Plants For Your Home


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