Everybody needs a relaxing place they can go to for tranquility, and it should be no different for your ball-handed Animal Crossing: New Horizons character. The perfect solution is to build a Japanese zen garden for you and your fellow islanders, and this guide has everything you need to get started.
With a little bit of patience, good luck, and finances, this traditional creation has the potential to grow into a magnificent attraction on your island. But before opening it to the public, a little work is needed to gather some Japanese-inspired items.
The answer to this really depends on the layout you want for your zen garden, and what space you have left to work with. Building your zen garden away from the hustle and bustle of island life could be one option, or perhaps you want to use it as a focal point on your island.
One feature to look for is a unique pocket of water that is naturally present on your island. Building around part of a river or pond could add to your zen garden’s authenticity, or building on a larger stretch of sand could be another good choice.
How to build waterfalls for your Japanese zen garden
Before constructing a mesmerizing waterfall for your zen garden, you need to unlock the Island Designer app and purchase the Waterscaping Permit and the Cliff Construction Permit. Both can be purchased for 6,000 Nook Miles each at the Nook Stop in Resident Services.
You then need to choose a cliff that you want your waterfall to be on, located close to your island’s river. Use your ladder to move on top of the cliff and dig a hole at the edge of the cliff to make a waterfall.
You can then dig in front of the waterfall to make a smaller stream that connects with the river again, or you can also choose to make a pond at the bottom of the waterfall too.
What items to include in your Japanese zen garden and where to buy them
There are many authentic items you can add to your Japanese zen garden, and you can even craft some of them yourself. Saving some Bells and Nook Miles to spend at Nook’s Cranny and the Nook Stop will be beneficial.
The Nook Stop in Resident Services has a good selection of ornate items for your zen garden. Stone items, such as a well, fence, or arch, will give your zen garden a traditional feel, along with fountains if you want extra water features.
Nook’s Cranny also has a new selection of items every day, therefore, frequent visits and a little bit of luck should reward you with the perfect items in no time. Traditional bridges, statues, and even a Chabudai tend to rotate in stock.
Isolated stone and wooden features, like log tables, outdoor baths, and flat garden rocks can be crafted with materials instead of spending Bells.
How to gather materials for your Japanese zen garden
If you choose to decorate your zen garden with plenty of beautiful stone and wooden features, then some scavenging must be done beforehand.
Obtaining soft, regular, and hardwood can be done by chopping trees with your axe. However, be careful not to chop more than twice if you are using a stone axe, otherwise, you’ll lose a tree.
Stones can be collected around the island by hitting rocks with your shovel or axe. Stones can also be found attached to balloons or caught instead of fish whilst fishing.
Gathering weeds can also come in handy if you want to craft cherry-blossom flooring.
How to grow trees and plant flowers for your Japanese zen garden
Once you have the general layout of your zen garden, it’s a good idea to think about planting some flora. Flowers and trees can add to the picturesque display of your zen garden, and can be added for a cheap price.
Nook’s Cranny offers plenty of flower seeds and tree saplings, which you can buy separately or in stacks of five. You will then need to stand directly in front of where you want to plant them to deposit them, and remember to water the seeds until they sprout.
Alternatively, you can dig up some natural flowers that grow on the island and replant them. After digging them up, the stems will be added to your pocket.
Once you’ve included a few of these options in your build, your Japanese zen garden should start to attract all of your residents, but remember to grab a few quiet moments yourself.