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Ever Built a "Prayer Garden"?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by lawnspecialties, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,513

    Once everything starts slowing down (hopefully soon), I want to build a prayer garden at my church. We had to cut down an old tree a couple of years ago and the centipede just doesn't want to grow in that spot so it would be perfect for the garden. I'm sure there's still plenty of mulch in the soil so I'm just going to replace it. What I'm looking for is ideas for the garden. I love Lantanas and Butterfly Bushes because of all the butterflies and hummingbirds they attract. So that will be a big part of it. But what else? Garden pond? Other types of plants/flowers?

    Would love to hear of suggestions. They definitely don't have to be just on what type of plantings to use. Thanks all.:)
  2. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 802

    Just for starters, how about making it a semi enclosed area; where people can have the feeling of privacy from the outside. Enclose the area with a hedge, maybe flowering, that is short enough to see over when standing, but will give you privacy when sitting on the 3 or 4 benches.
    Circular about 30' diameter with 2 entrances, make the entrance long enough or angled so that when seated at the benches, you cannot see outside the garden.
    I'd stick with pavers or other hard surface for the walkways; as the ladies will probably have heels on. Make a hard surface path to the garden as well.
    Very simple pond, elevated to sitting height, with cross (wood?)centerpiece elevated further and water running out below it all around, over a curved pedestal, just enough shape/texture to get a slight water sound. Elevate the cross so that when viewed from the sitting position on the benches; it will be slightly above the hedge and use the sky as the backdrop.
    Stick with white or light yellow flowers.
    Show off with serinity and simplicity.
    If you could cast letters into the concrete, throw in some strength giving verses imprinted into the sitting surface around the pond.

    You will also have to work on making it look good from the outside, blend it in with the existing landscape.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    Consider that when you attract butterflies you also attract bees. In a prayer garden you might consider a more placid feeling rather that energy and excitement. The idea is for the people to look more inward. You get this by having order to the garden. It can be formal order or natural order.

    If you have seating, be careful to consider what makes people uncomfortable where they sit. I'm not talking about cushions, but psychologic things. People do not feel comfortable sitting where there is a lot of open space behind them. A bench should be placed with its back to plantings or a wall rather than a field, sidewalk, or parking lot. It makes a huge difference.

    If you use water, you should not have a loud gushing fountain. Still water or a small trickle is better for this purpose.

    Form follows function. Keep your focus on the function. Everything you do should enhance what is good for the function and mitigate things that work against the function. Anything that supports peace and quiet should be enhanced. Anything that causes distractions should be mitigated (corrected).
  4. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,072

    Prayer and meditation gardens should have some aromatic qualities, perhaps herbs rather than sweet smelling flowers.

    AGLA good point about avoiding the polinators!

    Keep the colors dark for a feeling of warmth, use black or dark hardscape materials. Use evergreen plants or dark green and red foilage. Places of prayer are warm and dark.

    Of course a prayer garden should have appropriate statuary. Religion and statues go together. Statues can be spiritualy uplifting and when well placed in a garden...

    Lawn specialties, you are lucky to be able to do service to your church, congregation and lord. I am sure you will do a great job, hope my suggestions help, keep us updated. And here's a little poem to inspire you.

    "Adam was a gardener as the lord who made him sees, every proper gardener's place is down upon his knees"
    Rudyard Kipling
  5. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 183

    I can't remember the title of the thread but someone posted some pics of one they had done in the spring,an absolutely beautiful job.

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