Who doesn’t want their yard to be a lush paradise? Many people dream about going on vacation to a tropical paradise where the vegetation is naturally lush. Some people dream about retiring and living on a tropical island in the Caribbean or Hawaii. But why wait till you go on vacation or retire? Why not create your own paradise now in your own yard? Well, you may say, sure, but not clear about how to go about creating one.
One person’s idea of paradise may not be the same as another. For instance, you may have grown up in the mountains among pine trees and lakes and your idea of paradise is to reclaim that feeling you had when you were a child and had no cares or worries.
One key element that makes up a universal concept of paradise is water. Lushness implies an abundance of water, not only for the plants to thrive, but perhaps a pond, stream, lake or view of the ocean. You can see how water plays the fundamental key element in creating the feeling of a lush paradise.
The climate in which you now live will determine the degree to which you can transform it into a lush paradise. It may not be able to be tropical with palm trees and Hibiscus flowers, but you can depend on some of the other elements to capture the feeling.
Let’s look at the criteria for what constitutes a “lush paradise”.
The word paradise comes from the Persian word pairidaeza or walled garden and used to describe the Garden of Eden in Genesis. An ecosystem that is considered lush would be like a rainforest that had an abundance of fruit bearing plants, plenty of rainwater, wildlife, shade and canopy as well as a balance of rain and sunshine. It may even contain waterfalls.
Think about what it would be like to wonder through a jungle. A jungle is like a rainforest, but we think of jungle as something wild and untamed. Something not controlled by humans. We fear it at the same time we are captivated by its raw state of nature.
We may see exotic species of plants, animals, insects and birds. As we explore, we may come upon a natural clearing where we can rest under the shade of the trees. We may also arrive at a spot where we can see the distant mountains and views of the surrounding forest, giving us a sense of place and the feeling of security that we are not lost.
Our basic needs are met with food, water and shelter. We also need a sense of security that we are safe from predators. We need a place we can hide – a type of sanctuary from the rigors of daily life in the “outside” world.
This is what describes a paradise, a kind of Heaven on earth. The perceived state of mind of being in heaven is hard to grasp, but the closest thing we can relate to is our concept of paradise, and of course, paradise is always lush. That sense of lushness is both the water and the vegetation. It’s the essence of nature or the natural environment.
Our sense of place is tied to our perceptions of being. We are aware of our surroundings by what we perceive through our senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and hear.
As we get to the essence of what is means to be in a lush paradise, we understand that it is not unlike a creature living in harmony with its natural environment. But does an animal such as a Tiger realize that it is living in a paradise? No, because animals do not have the same consciousness as humans. Animals are in a way, unconscious of the concept of paradise. They coexist with nature without thinking about it. That is what separates us from this primordial state of being, the fact that we think and use our minds to name things such as paradise and gardens keeps us from experiencing the essence of what we are trying to capture.
We can turn off being human and thinking too much by incorporating the follow five criteria to capture the essence of what we think of as paradise in our own yard.
Whether it’s a natural oceanfront setting or a small pond with waterfall, water is symbolic of the essence of all life on earth and so it forms the fundamental basis of creating paradise.
We need to have the feeling of sanctuary, both physical and psychological. A structure such as a ramada, an overhead patio cover, or a grass hut provides shelter, enclosure and a sense of security. We also need walls so as to screen objectionable views and to create a sense of privacy. Walls can be structures or plant materials, but natural materials will more closely emulate the concept of the Garden of Eden.
3) Sensory stimulus
We need to be reminded that we are alive by being aware of our surrounding through our sensory perception. A distant view of the horizon reassures us that we are not locked up in a cage with nowhere to go. A warm breeze across our skin reminds us of the power of the sun to give warmth and light to all life. Scents and smells add pleasure and delight to our surroundings and uplifts our spirit.
The raw state of nature in the form of lush vegetation and wildlife reminds us that we are not too different than animals but with a more evolved consciousness. We know on a deep level that there is truth and meaning in nature and all of its miraculous manifestations.
If we don’t often get to see resident wildlife, we can attract it to our garden or provide our own in the form of fish, pets or birds. Create a paradise for wildlife to visit and they will come.
The sounds of birds singing and calling reassure us that everything is well. We are secretly fascinated that they have their own language and that they can communicate with each other even though we have no idea what they are saying.
The sound of moving water as from a rippling stream, waterfall or fountain is a reminder of our connection to the essence of life in the form of water. Water is such a symbolic element and represents not only life, but prosperity, purity and energy.
Once we have these five elements, a paradise begins to take form, but not without our own state of mind. Paradise is not just a location, but a feeling of being in a special place, of knowing you are a part of the greater whole.