Spaces for shrines dedicated to prayer and meditation should not be close to sources of neighbor noise. They should be designed with respect to the weather during seasons of use so you’ll always be comfortable there. Where privacy is needed, the space needs room for a screen hedge or partition.
Within the space you’ll need a comfortable place to relax and let your mind wander its spiritual corridors. A comfortable outdoor chair with a high back takes the least amount of space. For larger areas a chaise lounge or a budget recycled futon. Pay attention to your ground treatment if you do yoga for a clean, smooth surface for the mat.
Once created, these spaces tend to evolve as you do. Items gathered there may change from time to time as your path grows and diversifies. Virtually all spiritual spaces are beautiful, so the final item — and the most important — are plants and flowers. These give your shrine life and change as the days pass with one blooming and then the next. By fall make sure your have bright leaves there before it all goes to bed before winter.
Where shrines are seasonal, let yours be recreated each year in a fresh new way. Let your spirit soar to the heavens by including all your favorite colors, or perhaps a composition of hues for visual eye candy. Make it a delightful place to look at and one pleasing to spend time in so your shrine becomes a place of genesis, rekindling the fading fires.
In difficult times, the garden has always offered respite because it never changes. The circle of the seasons and cycles of nature are a manifestation of a higher power unaffected by our human conflicts. It is why human beings have brought their spirituality into nature, and nature into their spirituality by creating shrines in gardens. When nature and spirit are longer separated in part of your yard, that is all it takes to make your own hallowed ground.
Maureen Gilmer is an author, horticulturist and landscape designer. Learn more at www.MoPlants.com