Creating a labyrinth garden is a way to beautify your home and create a space to meditate. It is important to remember that a labyrinth is not a maze even though the two terms are often used interchangeably. A maze has many paths, multiple entrances and exits, and has dead ends and traps. In contrast, a labyrinth has a single path for entrance and exit and a single path that leads to the center.
Labyrinths have been used by various cultures all over the world throughout history. From Hopi medicine wheels to floors labyrinths in Gothic cathedrals, they have long been used as meditative aids. Modern labyrinths are being built in community parks and hospitals around the world to help people relieve stress and heal. While you probably won't have the room for an 11-circuit labyrinth like the one in the Chartres cathedral in France, there are smaller versions that will fit your landscape. Or, if you are particularly creative, you can design your own.
Below are a few hints to help you plan your own labyrinth garden.
Tip #1 - Choose a Pattern
There are books, Internet sites, and design companies dedicated to labyrinths. Look around to find a pattern you like and a pattern that fits your space. Patterns can be complex and simple. The goal is to have the path wind in such a manner that you lose yourself for a moment, releasing the stresses of everyday life.
Tip #2 - Mark the Path
The labyrinth isn't a hedge maze where you need tall, well-trimmed hedges to mark the boundaries. Many labyrinth floors are laid out in different color stone as an inlay, or are marked by a stone boundary on a sandy path. You can mark the path any number of ways. Here are a few thoughts to get your started.
- Mark the edges of the path by planting a row of your favorite flowers. A row of irises will both mark the path and provide color when in bloom.
- Leave grass on the land between segments of path but lay gravel for the path.
- Plant 2 different ground covers for the path and the area between the paths. There are several herbs that make excellent, low maintenance ground covers that will add to the experience by releasing their aroma when walked upon.
- If you are willing to do a bit of digging, the path can be lowered and the ground between the paths mounded slightly with the removed soil. Then a single ground cover can be used while providing a path that is well-defined.
- Treat your labyrinth as a type of knot garden by planting low hedges of herbs, flowers, and other plants to form the boundary of the path.
- Use a combination of stones and native plants to mark the boundaries of the path.
Since the most important requirement of a labyrinth garden is that it suits your garden and your personality, the possibilities are endless.