Labyrinth designs garden

Labyrinth designs garden DEFAULT

The enigmatic shape of labyrinths have long intrigued both historians and archeologists. Today, many gardeners are taking advantage of the classic design in their own garden to create a place of serenity and calm. The design is one that you can easily replicate at home with just a little bit of work.

Three Free Printable Labyrinth Instructions

Take the difficulty out of designing a labyrinth by printing a set of instructions that meets your needs. Your options include a large stone labyrinth, a small trench labyrinth, and a lighted luminary labyrinth.

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If you need help downloading these printables, check out these helpful tips.

Customize your chosen garden design by following the tips below.

Classic Stone Labyrinth

The classic design is comprised of a single pathway that loops to form seven circuits around a central goal. This design features large stones and pea gravel. Use these tips for a twist on the design:

  • Use flagstones for your path instead of pea gravel.
  • Locate your labyrinth near mature trees for shade.
  • Place benches and potted plants around the labyrinth.
  • Enclose your labyrinth with a white picket fence and landscape around it using native shrubs, plants, and trees.
  • Install solar lights on poles to enjoy your labyrinth at night.

Trench Labyrinth

This compact labyrinth design features elegant white stones placed in a narrow trench. If you want a different look to your labyrinth, try one of these options:

  • Use hardwood mulch for the path.
  • Use two layers of stacked flagstone for the outline instead of large stones.
  • Landscape around the labyrinth with ornamental grasses to create a private space.
  • Fill the trench with river rock instead of white stone for a more rustic feel.
  • Cover the labyrinth with an arbor and plant vining plants to create shade and add interest.

Luminary Labyrinth

A labyrinth comprised of lit luminaries is a beautiful design for gardeners who want to enjoy their landscaping in the moonlight. Try these variations to customize your design:

  • Install solar lighting instead of using luminaries.
  • Use colored battery operated tea lights for a festive appeal.
  • Plant creeping thyme between the lights for a fragrant path.
  • Place small stepping stones between the lights for an elegant path.
  • Place an arbor at the entrance and cover it with flowering vines.

Basic Labyrinth Construction Tips

Make your project easier by following these tips while you construct any of the labyrinths:

  • Be sure that you completely understand how to draw the design on graph paper before moving outside.
  • Select your location carefully, as the labyrinth is difficult to relocate.
  • Make this a family or group project; it will go faster this way.
  • Do not construct your labyrinth over top of wells or septic fields, or near water meters or fire hydrants.
  • Start with a small scale labyrinth before moving on to a larger size.
  • Use landscape fabric or kill the grass first to avoid weeds and grass from popping up where you don't want them.

Labyrinths in Home Landscaping

Besides being a pleasure to look at, creating a labyrinth offers an opportunity to relax and focus inward. You can walk quietly and clear your mind or just sit down amongst the natural elements of your winding paths to refocus and energize. As more people discover the serenity in creating personal garden spaces, labyrinths will continue to grow in popularity.

© 2021 LoveToKnow Media. All rights reserved.

Sours: https://garden.lovetoknow.com/garden-labyrinth-designs

How to Make an Outdoor Garden Labyrinth

Mark Out the Labyrinth

The first step in constructing a circular labyrinth is to mark out its dimensions. Place a stake to mark your labyrinth's center point. Use a long tape measure to measure out the radius of the labyrinth, then circle the stake at the same distance to mark the labyrinth's diameter. Establish the radius and mark that length all the way around the center point using marking spray.

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Excavate the Base

If you have a large project on your hands, it's best to use a front-end loader for digging (Image 1), or hire an excavation company to do the work. Since a front-end loader is not great at cutting curves, you should use a shovel to pre-cut the curves into the turf. Then the loader can lift up the turf and carry it away.

The next step is to prepare the base. You should dig your base 6 to 8 inches deep. Dig deeper for the base if the labyrinth is going to be in a high traffic area. Next, use a compactor to compact the base. Compacting will create an even foundation for the pavers (Image 2).

Once the base is compacted, lay down landscaping fabric over it. The fabric will help stabilize the soil, and keep any roots from growing up through the pavers. As you work, secure the fabric with gravel so it doesn't fly away. Remember to overlap the fabric layers by a few inches. Use a sharp utility knife to cut the edges, because you're dealing with a tough fabric.

Pack Gravel and Crown the Base

Once the fabric is laid out, you can bring in the gravel pack. If you excavate 8 inches instead of 6, bring in two separate layers of 2 inches, and compact each. Before compacting the top layer of gravel, it's very important to make sure that the base is level. Rather than use strings to keep track of the level, which would quickly resemble a spider web, it might be a good idea to use a transit level.

After spreading the gravel, the next important step is to crown the base. "Crowning" means to create an artificial pitch for water runoff in the center of your area. To do so, use the transit to create a mound in the center that is about half an inch higher than the outer mounds. This will be the crown, about 2-1/2 inches below grade. Then spread the gravel so that it "crowns" at the extra half inch in the middle. Once the gravel pack is in, you can compact it with the compactor.

Add a Layer of Concrete Sand

The next step is to lay down a layer of concrete sand, which will be the setting bed for the pavers. The concrete sand layer should be one inch thick. Screed in sections using an extra-long screed board. For screeding this area, use a long 2x4. Use a laser level to keep track of that one-inch height. If the level is too low, simply add sand until you get it to the correct height.

When you've finished screeding the sand, keep some wooden planks handy, so you can lay them down over the sand while you put in pavers. This will keep the sand from getting displaced.

Get a Labyrinth Kit

For this project, a labyrinth kit with all of the pavers already organized and separated was used. The pavers are made from a high-density concrete, and come in two colors: gray and charcoal. The gray colored pavers make up the paths, and the charcoal pavers make up the paths' borders.

The stones from the labyrinth kit come in eleven different sizes, but luckily they come with a map that charts out where each stone is supposed to go. This map will simplify the layout of your labyrinth.

Lay the Center Stone Pack

The first step to laying down the pavers is to set up cross strings. The cross strings will divide up the labyrinth into quadrants, and act as guides for construction. Put down a metal spike in the middle of the base and four additional spikes at equal distances around the perimeter. Run nylon string between the outer spikes across the base, so that the string divides the base into quadrants, and intersects at the center spike. Since these strings need to be accurate, use a laser level to make sure everything is perfect.

Lay down the first stone paver in the center of the labyrinth. Take the metal spike out of the center, and lay the stone right over the cross strings. The strings will be buried under the pavers.

With the center stone in, start putting down stones around it, according to the directions of your kit. Soon the center stone pack of the labyrinth is created. This is the point where the labyrinth's path will eventually end. Once the center stone pack of the labyrinth is installed, double-check the measurements. Be sure the pavers measure the correct radius, otherwise the rest of the labyrinth pavers will not line up correctly.

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Place More Pavers

The labyrinth kit may come with wooden templates (Image 1) that can be used to guide your placing of the turnaround pavers. The "turnarounds" are the turning points on the finished walkway. Without the templates, these are very difficult to place accurately. The strings you laid down previously will be crucial to guiding the placement of these templates. Most labyrinths are designed in quadrants, and the turnarounds will be centered on those strings.

The templates simply act as placeholders for the turnarounds for now. Start laying down the full-sized pavers around them, always following the map. As you lay down the pavers, leave some gaps where cuts are going to be. Because you don't want any continuous joints in the pavers, it will be necessary to make some cuts. Save those cuts for last.

With the templates still in place, continue working outwards, adding rows of pavers to create an ever-widening circle (Image 2). After laying down each row of border pavers, measure the distance from the center to confirm the pavers are lining up correctly. Use a rubber mallet to tap in the pavers, to keep the joints tight.

Install Snap Edging

Once you've finished laying down all of the rows of pavers around the base (except for those that will eventually replace the templates) install the snap edging. Snap edging is a plastic material that will fit around the pavers and hold them into place. You may need to snip the snap edging in order to bend it around the labyrinth perimeter. Lay the snap edging down and hammer it into place with 12-inch landscaping spikes every five or six holes.

Add Pavers for Turnarounds

With the snap edging installed, the next step will be to replace those wood templates with the pavers for the turnarounds.

The turnarounds are organized around the strings that divide your quadrant, so that each turnaround is centered evenly along a string. Pull out the first wood template and find its corresponding turnaround. Then take the turnaround pavers individually from their palette and place them where the template was. Once those turnaround pavers are laid in, fill in around them with the extra pavers provided by your kit. Do the same for each template.

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Make Cuts and Compact the Stones

To get a perfectly sized cut, hold a full paver over the spot where you need a smaller one. Mark the points, and draw lines where the paver will need to be cut (Image 1). For cutting pavers, save a lot of trouble by renting a wet saw. While you won't need a face mask to use a wet saw, you'll definitely want ear plugs and safety goggles. When using the wet saw, just let the blade do the work. Don't push the pavers into the blade.

Position the cut pavers (Image 2) and use a rubber mallet to tap the cut pavers into their holes. Save the cutoff pieces because chances are they can fill some of your holes. With the final cuts in, next compact the stones. Rent a plate compactor from any local supply company. Be sure to wear earplugs. Start compacting from the outside of the circle and work your way in (Image 3). That way, you're pushing the pavers toward each other instead of into the snap edging.

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Spread Polymeric Sand

With the pavers compacted, the next step is to spread polymeric sand into the labyrinth's joints (Image 1). When activated with water, the sand turns into a concrete-like substance that prevents weeds and discourages ants, but still remains semi-permeable to water. Be sure to wear a face mask and eye protection while handling the polymeric sand. Spread the sand around until the joints are completely filled in.

Then come back in with the compactor. Again, start from the outside and work towards the center. This will help sand settle in the joints, so if you find the joints getting a little low, go back through and sweep in extra sand (Image 2). Next, bring in a hose and mist the labyrinth. That will activate the polymeric sand. Go over the labyrinth two or three times, but be careful not to over-wet it. Just mist the surface.

Wait for the polymeric sand to activate, which will take about 24 hours, and then spray the labyrinth down one final time (Image 3). Finally, fill in some loam around the outside edges of the labyrinth to cover up where you dug. With that, your perfect meditational labyrinth is complete.

Sours: https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/how-to-make-an-outdoor-garden-labyrinth
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Their beauty and eternal promise of growth and rejuvenation have made gardens natural spots for healing and reflection. For this special garden, healing became the primary focus. It was created for a couple who were mourning the loss of their son, and needed a place where they could heal and meditate.

Labyrinth Entrance Claire Jones Landscapes LLC Sparks, MD

The labyrinth was designed to be a place of personal, psychological, and spiritual healing.

Moved by their story, designer Claire Jones, owner of Claire Jones Landscapes in Sparks, Maryland, decided to center the garden around a healing labyrinth, a single, non-branching path that winds to a special meditative space. “It is all about the journey to the center of the labyrinth, and a traveler is to walk it with intent and purpose. The path taken is for personal, psychological, and spiritual transformation,” she says.

The site chosen for the labyrinth was a small, secluded glade at the bottom of a slope in a grassy area. Because Jones was working within a confined space, she chose a contemporary medieval design for the labyrinth, which has five circuits. “It gives you a greater-length journey in a smaller space,” she says. “Old examples of these medieval designs are found on the floors of cathedrals in Europe. I ordered a template of the design preprinted on white landscape cloth online, as the design had to be installed precisely in stone.”

Since the site was on a slope, Jones built a retaining wall into the hillside using large boulders of Pennsylvania field stone. She used a dry-laid technique to install the large boulders, arranging them in a curve to embrace the area of the labyrinth and create a special enclosed space. Large field stone steps placed in the hillside lead from the upper area down to the labyrinth.

Once the wall was complete, the flat area for the labyrinth was graded level. “The most important part of the job was getting the base properly prepared and power tamped so that the stones would not shift,” says Jones. “The base was composed of tamped soil, tamped gravel, black landscape cloth, and topped off with the template for placement of the stones.”

Labyrinth Bench Claire Jones Landscapes LLC Sparks, MD

Specially cut bluestone and charcoal-gray gravel were used to create the labyrinth.

Jones considered many materials for paving the labyrinth, but ultimately decided on using bluestone set into a gravel base. A stone mason made numbered templates of all the curves in the labyrinth so that he could cut the stone precisely with a diamond-tipped saw blade. Every stone was cut to size and placed into position on the template. Because bluestone is a natural material, each piece varied in thickness and had to be individually placed and leveled. Dark charcoal-gray gravel was placed in between the stones to contrast with the lighter blue-gray color. A metal edge staked around the perimeter of the labyrinth keeps the stones stable.

Labyrinth Water Claire Jones Landscapes LLC Sparks, MD

A small water feature prepares for the experience of walking the path.

At the entrance to the labyrinth is a “heart space,” which is the first stop on the healing journey. “This area gets you ready for the Zen experience of walking the path. It may be used for the placement of any symbol that may enhance the spiritual use of the labyrinth. I designed it as an antechamber to the main labyrinth, with a small boulder water feature. As a walker, you can dip your hand in the water to start the journey,” says Jones.

Labyrinth Overview Claire Jones Landscapes LLC Sparks, MD

A boulder sits at the center of the labyrinth as a spot for rest and reflection.

To break up the journey, Jones placed a “perching boulder” that one could rest on in the center. “I looked for the perfect size and shape. I didn’t want the boulder to be too large and overpower the space, which was 5 feet in diameter. I wanted something to enhance the journey,” she says. A wood bench was also added alongside the path leading to the labyrinth to provide another area for reflection.

Because their son loved butterflies and ladybugs, the clients wanted to surround the labyrinth with plants that would attract them. Being both a landscape designer and beekeeper, Jones had a good knowledge of the best pollinator-friendly plants to use for the location, which has areas exposed to both sun and shade (see her plant list). “To lighten the shady areas, I used golden and variegated plants wherever possible. During the spring, I fill in with some colorful annuals, like wave petunias, zinnias, and verbena, to give pollinators more sources of nectar during the summer,” she says.

The finished labyrinth is 24 feet in diameter and provides a total walking distance of 439 feet. “This is phenomenal considering the total space we had to work with,” says Jones. Her clients walk the path often, either alone or with friends, and have found great comfort in the journey.

To see photos of the labyrinth garden as it was being built and to learn more about the history of healing labyrinths, visit Jones’ garden blog.

Have you ever walked a garden labyrinth? Let us know and join the conversation along with our other Garden Design Facebook fans!

Sours: https://www.gardendesign.com/baltimore/labyrinth.html

What is a Labyrinth Garden?

Labyrinth gardens are meant as a place for personal contemplation and renewal. See pictures of our outdoor labyrinth garden—and learn more about this increasingly popular “healing garden.”

What is a Labyrinth?

In a labyrinth, you follow a curving pathway that winds to a center. It is NOT a maze, which has false paths and dead ends. Labyrinths are not designed to be difficult to navigate. Once at the center, you simply take the same path out.

Labyrinths have existed for centuries and may be best known from Greek mythology, which includes the tale of the architect Daedalus creating a labyrinth as a way to keep a monster—the Minotaur—from eating the children of Athens.

In the Middle Ages, labyrinths were often made on the floors of religious buildings. One of the most ancient labyrinths is built right into the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France; it was meant to provide a meditative journey for body and spirit.

Today, labyrinths have experienced a resurgence of interest. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that walking a labyrinth can lower the breathing rate, blood pressure, and chronic pain as well as reduce stress levels and anxiety.

They are being built at hospitals, local churches, wellness centers, playgrounds, and prisons.

If you’d like to see if there is a labyrinth near you, here is a worldwide “Labyrinth Locator.”

Planting a Garden Labyrinth

My mother-in-law created her own garden labyrinth using ornamental grasses and flowers.

She was inspired after she and her sister took a trip to Missouri to visit a labyrinth designed on a prairie.

Returning to their horse ranch in rural Ohio, she laid down rope in a “left-hand chakra” design, planting warm-season grasses along the rope’s edge. However, the spring was very wet and they plants didn’t take.

That fall, she replanted, setting out hundreds of real plants in a labyrinth path with 8 feet between the pots—as you can see in the picture below.

Unfortunately, all of the plants died! After this dismaying experience, she decided to take a different approach. (In gardening, we try, try again!)

The following spring, she prepared the soil so that it was not too compact and she simply spread seed—all native grasses this time. She also mixed in different biennial wildflowers. They took!

Here is a photo from summertime:

The design is set up for the size of their mower—and they mow the paths regularly whenever they mow the lawn. Eventually, she says that the ornamental grasses will kill off the flowers; they grow quite tall to provide that peace and quiet.

Here is an aerial view of the ranch and labyrinth design (next to the big barn):

Here’s my son walking the labyrinth in early June (with our dog, Vesper).

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The experience of walking the labyrinth is so relaxing, especially as you are amid nature—with the sight, sound, smell, and touch of the plants, birds, and butterflies.

It’s almost as if you’ve entered into a hidden world away from the “chatter” of everyday life. You can simply reflect, release any tensions, and rejuvenate.

Below is a photo of the labyrinth in late summer. You can barely see over the grasses and in a hidden world now.

At the center of the labyrinth is a bench and a surprise fairy garden!

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Below is my son coming out of the labyrinth after winding his way back.

In the fall, the grasses start to brown and die down. They are burned to the ground on a very wet winter’s day and the ground rests until spring.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this meander into the world of labyrinths. Your comments and musings are welcome!

Sours: https://www.almanac.com/what-is-labyrinth-garden

Designs garden labyrinth

University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science


Garden Mazes and Labyrinths                 OH 74

Leonard Perry, Extension Professor

Garden mazes are designs in which the participant is confronted with many choices or paths to get to the center or goal. As such it is basically a puzzle, a problem-solving left brain activity. Labyrinths on the other hand have a single path (unicursal) leading to the goal. They have been described as a right brain activity, enhancing intuition and creativity.

Labyrinths may simply be used as a quiet oasis or feature in a garden. Some compare them symbolically to the journey of life, or rebirth and reincarnation as they are walking along. Others compare them to the annual journey of planets in the solar system. To these the garden labyrinth may provide personal, psychological or spiritual transformation. In Scandinavia where many were built and some of the oldest still exist, they were used to trap bad winds, or fair maidens, and to ensure a good sea harvest.

Mazes and labyrinths may just provide a great running area for children, as in the recently popular corn or sunflower mazes found in many states. When my daughter was young, I would rake the fall leaves into patterns for her and her friends to follow and run around.

Mazes and labyrinths are not of recent origin, but have been around for at least 3500 years. The oldest labyrinth patterns are often referred to as classical, and were first seen on a clay tablet in Greece about 1200 B.C.E. Here they were used as oracles, and in diplomacy. These patterns often may use 3, 7, 11 or 15 circular paths, one within the other. The one with 7 is most common, and has been related to the 7 Chakras of the Hindu faith, the 7 colors of the rainbow, and the 7 notes in music.

Later labyrinths are often termed medieval, and have four distinct quadrants. Varying numbers of paths, including 7, characterize these. The oldest examples of such patterns can be found in European churches and cathedrals, the most famous being at Chartres in France. When pilgrims were unable to travel to the holy land, they would travel the cathedral labyrinth instead, on their knees! Turf labyrinths in England are often in this group as well.

Then there are other labyrinth patterns of more recent origin. Some may include a mound or hill, so be three dimensional. Others may meander in a rectangular space, or irregular one. Then there are more modern elaborate designs such as a 9-petaled flower, triangle, or flowery wand. These may have multiple paths meant to "enhance spiritual perception", so may not officially be called labyrinths.

Whatever design or group of patterns you choose, you should first draw the outline on paper. This may then be altered outside to fit reality, as in the case of the radius of a mower! Minimal recommended space is at least 25 feet across, although as we saw above even a narrow rectangular space might suffice.

Next you need to locate the area for your labyrinth or maze. You may merely be limited by the area available. In this case you may only have the option of orientation, perhaps facing the opening towards a hill, a view, solstice, or compass direction. If space is not as limiting, there are many other ways to locate the "proper" site and center, including dowsing.

There are several materials that can be used for mazes and labyrinths including the already mentioned turf labyrinth. Often these consist of mowed turf circles, with paths one walks on between them of gravel, mulch or other material. In my case, it is the path that is mowed, and the grass left to grow taller between. Also in my case, the circles aren’t geometrical, rather free form. This creates some larger spaces between the paths, spaces for perennials and plants. Another variation consists of stepping stones laid in the lawn.

If a narrow space, posts and wire fencing may be used, on which could be grown vines. This is also perhaps the least expensive way to use plants, other than the straight turf labyrinth, or version such as mine using turf and plantings in wider areas. You might use one type of vine, or a mix of several. If using several, just make sure the vigorous ones don’t overtake and kill out the others. Examples for vigorous selections would include hops, bittersweet, sweet autumn clematis, trumpetcreeper, hardy kiwi, Virginia creeper, honeysuckles. In milder climates of USDA zone 5 or warmer, consider grapes and wisteria. Annual ornamental vines might include sweet peas, morning glory, or hyacinth bean. With vegetable vines such as beans and peas trained on a fence you could have a maze or labyrinth and garden too!

If ample space, with at least 2 to 3 feet between paths, stone walls or plants can be used. When choosing materials, keep in mind the height desired. For mazes, it is solving the puzzle that counts, so taller materials and plants are used to keep you from seeing the whole picture or where to go. For labyrinths, it is the experience going in and retracing your steps back out that is important, so these often use lower materials and plants.

Generally the space between paths is not very wide, so this rules out most shrubs. There are some upright, columnar, and rather narrow cultivars of some shrubs such as junipers. Generally though maze shrubs are such as the slow growing yew, or the fast growing honeysuckle which as with any vigorous shrub will need much pruning. Using all shrubs may be quite expensive as well.

Several ornamental grasses might work well, such as the switchgrass, feather reed grass, or the eulalia. Depending on the cultivar, the latter may not all be hardy in zone 4, some may be quite vigorous, and some in warm climates may be seed invasive. Low grasses such as blue fescue or sedges might be used to line paths. Ornamental grasses are fairly maintenance free, tough, and may provide a fairly quick and more affordable alternative to shrubs.

Perennials are not generally used for labyrinths, as most will spread over time and require some space. But they could be used in corners or wider areas in groupings, as in my own labyrinth. Or you might have paths lined with daylilies, tall garden phlox, or other upright or clumping perennial if sufficient room.

Tall annuals for mazes include corn and sunflowers, and are probably the least expensive and quickest plants to use. Most other annuals that clump might line or separate paths of a labyrinth. These might include marigolds, zinnias, impatiens, geraniums, and so many more. Using such annual flowers, especially if you have a 7 circuit circular type labyrinth, you might consider using the colors of the rainbow, one for each circular path.

Finally, in the center of the maze or labyrinth, consider a quiet grassy area to rest and meditate. Perhaps include a bench or seat. Also consider using appropriate garden statuary and metal figures there or along your path, such as garden fairies, angels and spirit stakes.

Whatever labyrinth or maze type you choose, it will need some maintenance. This might be annual flower planting, dividing perennials, pruning shrubs, mowing turf, or weed trimming stepping stones and stone walls. Much more information on labyrinth types, functions, design, siting and creation can be found at the Labyrinth Society website (www.labyrinthsociety.org).
 



Return to Perry's Perennial Consumer Page

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. Lawrence Forcier, Director, UVM Extension System, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension System and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status.

Last reviewed 6/02

Sours: http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/oh74mazes.htm
23 Garden Mazes and Labyrinth Designs

For those who love projects, particularly ones that get us outside and encourage us to spend more time there, building a garden labyrinth can be a wonderfully meditative exercise. What’s more is that, once finished, it can continue to provide an area of contemplation, as well as something fun and interesting for children to appreciate. Plus, they are pretty darn cool.

All that said, many are a bit intimidated by the idea of building a labyrinth. Aren’t they pretty complex? Aren’t they more or less like creating a maze in the yard? Doesn’t David Bowie, the Goblin King, live in one of those? How on earth can the average homeowner make one? Why would we want to?

Well, labyrinths needn’t be as elaborate as we might think, and they aren’t actually mazes. Labyrinths, while complex pathways, are not actually puzzles. They don’t require solving. The winding path leads to its final destination with no wrong turns but, indeed, with an abundance of prescribed turns. And, the ones we can build in a yards or back patios are mesmerizing and attractive features.

Source: Steve Snodgrass/Flickr

History of the Labyrinth

Hedge mazes, which is what most of think of nowadays when picturing a labyrinth, aren’t but a few hundred years old, but actual labyrinths—composed of one circuitous pathway leading from the entrance to the center of a space—have been around for thousands of years.

Labyrinths, in fact, date back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age, with smaller designs later found on coins in Crete representing Knossos, where the Minotaur was held captive. The Romans used them as protective symbols, often installed as mosaic floors in public buildings.

In medieval times, the complex pathways symbolized the struggle of faith and philosophy. They were commonly put in as tiles in cathedrals and churches. The Chartres Cathedral in France still has a labyrinth constructed in the 13th century. From there, the practice moved into village common areas in Europe, particularly England and Germany.

Labyrinths were also found in caves of India and Indonesia, as well as with works of rock art of the American Southwest. Ultimately, colonization spread labyrinths around the world. And, recently, they’ve made a serious comeback. It’s estimated that over 10,000 labyrinths have been built in the last quarter of a century.

Source: Susan Montgomery/Shutterstock

Planning Backyard Labyrinths

In a world caught up with speed and convenience, labyrinths stand in stark contrast. They are acts of love, works of art that require patience and persistence to construct and the same to walk. But, the act of doing these things have similar healing and healthful effects as meditation. Moreover, just about anyone with a lawn or green space has whatever skill and land it takes to build a labyrinth.

Step 1: Choose a space

Backyard labyrinths can be constructed of many different materials. Paths can be grass with stones to mark out the labyrinth designs. Small hedges of lavender, flowers and other herbs can be grown as the walls to offer a living version. Bricks can be laid as the pathway amongst a grassy yard. Some people literally just cut out the sod to make dirt walkways.

Step 2: Choose a medium

The more important aspect of building a labyrinth is choosing the design. There are lots of formulas — “seed patterns” — out there for building a good labyrinth, stuffing seemingly miles of pathway into a confined space. Essentially, a “circuit” is the layers of paths that encircle the center of the labyrinths. In other words, a seven-circuit labyrinth has seven layers of pathway before getting back out to the outside world (or into the center). The more circuits, the more path to walk.

Building Backyard Labyrinths

Once the pattern is picked, and the space and material has been decided, it’s time to mark out the pattern in the yard. This begins by marking out the labyrinth, staking the center and using a rope compass. The “walls” of the labyrinth are marked out with stakes and strings, chalk, paint or sprinklings of flour/gravel/birdseed. Then, depending on the material chosen, it’s either time to start installing the pathways (brick pavers, gravel, removed sod) or adding the walls (rocks, shrubs, hay bales, etc.). Having a little sitting stone, chair, or pillow at the center only adds to the meditative quality of completing the path.

What probably once seemed like a completely flight fancy is now both completely possible to have at home and, what’s more, it’s something fun to do with friends or kids. The labyrinth will be beautiful and mystical to look at, and for some, it truly functions as a place of contemplation and calming. Plus, again, they are just super cool.

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Sours: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/how-and-why-to-make-a-magical-labyrinth-in-your-garden/

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