Before the late David Bowie entranced the world as the Goblin King in Labyrinth, many may have only known the word labyrinth in reference to Greek mythology, but they are more common nowadays than you may think.
While today they aren’t used to harbor the mighty minotaur or a frozen Jack Nicholson, they can be used as a mysterious and unique focal point in your customer’s landscape, or even as a fun space filler for clients with expansive property.
Dating back to the Grecian era, labyrinths have been used throughout the years for something as simple as a relaxing stroll, a right brain activity to enhance creativity and intuition or just as a nice addition to a bland landscape.
Labyrinths can also act as a recreational device for children, and they differ from a garden mazes by having a single path that leads to the center instead of multiple dead end paths. For customers looking to add a bit of spark or pizzazz to their yard, talk to them about adding in a labyrinth garden.
Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that your customers will have a lumbering maze present in their backyard. Labyrinth gardens can be ground level attractions that merely feature knee-high or lower grass or shrubs arranged in particular patterns.
However, if a large maze-like attraction is what your customer desires, it can be arranged similarly to the labyrinth gardens.
Creating a labyrinth garden
The best way to start on a labyrinth garden is to first start with a solid design idea. Consult your client and find out what they want out of their structure.
Are they wanting just a small garden they can use for relaxation and meditation, or are they wanting a fun, full-sized maze they can actively engage in? Most labyrinths are round or mushroom-shaped, but they really can be designed in any shape your customer would like.
Once you’ve established the design, it’s time to ready the space.
Preparing the ground is an important step to bringing a labyrinth to life, and as with any new garden, the soil needs to be prepared ahead of time. If you will be creating a turf labyrinth, soil testing isn’t necessary. When creating a turf labyrinth, there is no planting up involved, as they are formed by cutting away the ground surface to leave shallow trenches or ridges to form the pathway.
Drawing out the shape of the garden is the next step. Start by having a plan on paper before you ever start laying things out on the ground. This gives your client the chance to make modifications before the final product begins, and it helps give you and your crew a solid reference point. Sizing and design are dependent on the customer’s wants, so be sure to have more than one suggestion in your back pocket before meeting with them.
Once the official design is made, start drawing it out on the designated area of the landscape. Marking off the spot with rope or similar material allows you the ease of moving and changing it while you work to get the layout just right. To make it easier on yourself and your crew, start from the center and work out to create the pathways.
The final step of the process is planting. This, once again, comes down to what look your customer wants, but there are many options when it comes to what to plant. Some people enjoy using perennials, while others strictly stick to herbs or shrubs.
Regardless of what your customer decides on, be sure not to include any creeping varieties when planting. Always opt for the upright varieties, as creeping ones will end up spreading and crowding the pathways.
To make care and maintenance easier, choose plants that have similar water, sun and soil needs. Placing benches or statues in the center or around pathways can help add more personality to the labyrinth.
Benefits of labyrinths
While some people might not find the idea of wandering through a maze relaxing, many have found that engaging in a walk through a labyrinth can act as a stress reliever.
When walking through the pathways of the labyrinth, the mind quiets and provides a similar sensation to casually swinging on a swing. Using the pathways for prayer time or meditation exercises has become popular, and it can also help increase balance by forcing one to follow the paths precisely.
Not only can it act as a way to center the mind and spirit, it can also serve as a form of exercise. Whether it’s a family activity to find your way through or a competition among friends, getting out and about in nature is always a plus.
For those interested in seeing labyrinth templates, click here.