Memorial and Meditation Garden Landscapes: Walkway and Patio Edge Designs with Modern Low-maintenance Plants

Memorial and meditation garden landscapes are welcoming and restful spaces.

Regardless of size, components of these landscape designs are a central meditative or memorial feature, an open space like a patio, benches, and walkways for entering and exiting the garden.

If the area is large, there may be margins of walls, fences or hedges as well as meandering pathways.

Nevertheless, the setting should be one of intimacy. Low-maintenance landscape plants contribute tremendously to achieving this desired effect.

In order to focus on the main meditative or memorial feature, plantings are best restricted to patio and walkway edges. Plant selection is usually the last designed garden landscape component. Planting a successful garden landscape requires knowing three factors:

  • Site conditions,
  • Characteristics and functions of desired plants, and
  • Coordination of plant colors and appearances.

Example of a Memorial Landscape Garden (Figure 2)

This example shows a church model that memorializes early 19th century church founders as the focal point of a landscape garden.

The plant hardiness zone 7 garden is set facing south on disturbed soil that is primarily acidic red Virginia clay. The specified soil amendment is mushroom compost.

Planned benches are teak. Installed irrigation is underground. Poured concrete makes up the patio and walkway. Timers trigger safety lighting on poles and within the model.

Low-maintenance Plant Colors and Characteristics

Coordinated colors and plant textures present a unified and tidy appearance and pleasing public image.

The idea here is to bring warmth and welcoming to the garden without detracting from the model. Colors, carried out through both flowers and foliage, are white, pink, deep blue and intense yellow.

Plants in this scheme either are small-leaved evergreens or possess some kind of late winter interest. They remain small and require little or no pruning.

They are also resistant to common pests, diseases, drought and, for the most part, are deer resistant. They can all triumph over a variety of soil types.

Sun and Shade Site Essentials

  • South facing walk edges: East, west and southern year-long sun exposure on shrubs planted here. Plants here must be capable of withstanding year-long sun exposure on a daily basis. Evergreens are not appropriate due to possible winter wind and drought damage. (Figure 1)
  • South facing patio edges: East, west and southern winter sun exposure; some east and full southern summer sun exposure. Plants here must be capable of withstanding winter sun exposure. Evergreens are not appropriate here also due to possible winter wind and drought damage. (Figure 3)
  • North and east facing patio edges behind memorial: Limited winter shade from surrounding deciduous trees and memorial; heavy summer shade from surrounding deciduous trees and memorial. Plants here must be capable of surviving in part to heavy shade. This is an excellent location for some small-leaved evergreen shrubs. (Figure 4)
  • North and west facing patio edges with benches: Limited winter shade from surrounding deciduous trees; filtered summer shade from surrounding deciduous trees. Plants here must be capable of surviving in part to dappled shade. Evergreens are also not appropriate here due to possible winter wind and drought damage. (Figure 5)