Creating a mandala garden

Here is a story of two mandala garden designs, created by permaculture designer and Permaculture Association member Lizi Jamal with collaborators.

The last mandala garden Lizi Jamal created was in the Glastonbury Festival Permaculture Garden, twenty five years ago, back in 1991. It was co-created with her partner at the time. The design of the mandala was based on an 8-sided sacred bagua shape, from the art of Fengshui - the ancient oriental art of placement in design

Lizi also used the yin and yang shapes, placed in the four cardinal directions, inspired by the Hopi Medicine Wheel. The Air element in the north, Water in the south, Earth and minerals in the west, and Fire in the east.

To represent each element, appropriate plants were chosen. For example, the air element was represented by climbers - beans, peas, nasturtiums. In the fire zone were yellows and oranges, in sunflowers, calendula and more. Water included mints and watercress, plus a pond. The pond was made from old tyres with polythene sacks as liners. The beds were labelled to give information about the plants and their uses and/or companions. In the western Earth beds were plants such as potatoes and horseradish, and the beds were surrounded by stones.


A new garden

Working on that project is where Lizi first had a dream of having her own land project where people, especially young people, could come to be inspired and reconnect with the land.

After many years of searching here and abroad her dream manifested. Last summer solstice, she and some of her kids finally bought a piece of land in south Devon. Three of them still live there. About one year since first seeing the land they hosted an afternoon for a group of Polish landscape architecture from the language school in Totnes. Together they started the new mandala garden.

Like the 1991 garden the new design is based on the four directions and the intermediate points. Lizi's design follows the Hopi Medicine Wheel system including the four elements and their colours. There are four heart shapes around the central circle. Some aspect of yin and yang, representing balance, will come in again. The edges of the beds will probably be woven willow around small hazel posts.

Lizi says: "I'm so grateful the dream has manifested... I have purpose in my life, I am up there every day and love it... making land art is inspiring."

Also see Lizi's website


Inspired by this post to create your own mandala garden, or maybe you have your own design? Please let us know in the comments.