How to turn a nasty barn ruin into a beautiful karesansui (dry rock) Zen garden.

When our century old barn became too too dangerous to use anymore we had a salvage company remove as much of the old board and beams as possible.

It's nice to think our old board will have a new life as an upscale floor someplace, but we were left with a terrible mess of crumbling granite foundation walls and splintered waste board.

This is how we changed an eyesore into a place every visitor wants to see. It required lots of our labour but not much cost or new material as we reused almost everything to make our Zen garden literally rise from the ashes.

Please enjoy this instructable and don't forget to rate it and comment on how I can make it (or the garden) better. I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

Step 1: Clean Up

Pretty self explanatory. The wood salvage company left a substantial pile of rubble that had to be buried or burned.

All the metal we found in the pile was sent to a scrap dealer. The road repair crew owed us a favour for helping them out so they used a huge loader to rough level the interior after the clean out and then we got started.

The clean up was the hardest step. It took a long time and an intense amount of labour. It didn't cost much but it was hard work.

Don't be too quick to bury and tear down everything, you may find a few treasures like the large granite rocks under the floor and the mature grape vine growing over an old door frame. Reuse it to save money and recycle as much as possible...
Recycling the weeds- get a barrel (45gallon ideally) put the weeds in, top up wth water and keave for a couple of weeks . the resulting soup liquid is full of pottasium etc . Dilute about 15 to 1 and water your plants with it. It is an awesome fertilizer then compost the weeds left as they will be inert by then
<p>What an incredible work of art.It is really magnificent ideas to make a landscape from recycled tips.It is true that garden pathway act as a backbone of any landscaping design.Trully stunning job and really well-written instructable too.Nicely done. </p>
<p>What an inccredible work of art! It is really a magnificient ideas to make a landscape from recycled materials. I think this is really a good role for others to follow.Appreciated the step by step instructions and the tips you have given.Nice job.</p>
<p>What an incredible job you have done.This was an ideal example of creativity and ability.I was really impressed,such a nice instruction you have given.Your work is really admirable and can give a stylish touch to your <a href="http://www.creativeatmospheres.net/" rel="nofollow">home landscape</a>.Thanks for nice share.</p>
<p>This is sucha great work!!! It&acute;s a wonderful work &quot;of art&quot;.</p><p>I just love it :)</p>
Lovely. Really, lovely. Nice job.
These look awesome! I've been trying to find a <a href="http://www.rogerstruckingandlandscaping.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping contractor</a> that can do stuff like this. Thanks for sharing!
Wow, I wish I was this creative. I love your idea of taking something old and useless and making it new again. I'd love to find some <a href="http://www.carmanahlandscaping.com/softscaping.htm" rel="nofollow">landscaping in Victoria, BC</a> like this.
These landscapes look great! I think they do alot of this kind of <a href="http://dandllandscape.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping in Tempe, AZ</a> because it gets so dang hot down there that they use alot of rocks instead of grass. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for sharing this the work you've performed is incredible. I've been looking for help with <a href="http://www.greenscapes-triad.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping in Kernersville</a> and found this to be very helpful for me in choosing how I wanted it to look.
This is totally amazing! I have always wanted to call up a <a href="http://fathernaturelandscapes.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping service</a> company and have them do something like this. That would be so nice. Thanks for sharing these great pictures with us.
Wow! This is so beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing this! Me and my family have really started to get into <a href="http://jbcustomremodeling.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping</a> and so it is really fun to see everyone else and what they are doing to their own yard! It looks so great! Thank you for sharing the pictures! Can you tell me where you got your ideas from?
Clever ideas using recycled objects and materials for <a href="http://leeshomeimprovementandlandscaping.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping</a>. I need to incorporate this into my yard more. Thanks for the inspiration.
I love that you have created a zen garden out of an old barn! I'm seriously tempted to try <a href="http://evergreenos.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping</a> like this in my backyard now that my dog isn't there. Instead of an old barn back there, however, I have an old playhouse that needs to be taken down. How did you come up with such creative ideas for your eye catchers? I think I just need to harness your creativity until my project is over ;)
Amazing job! You don't know how much I would love to be able to do this kind of <a href="http://jbcustomremodeling.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping</a>! The only problem is that I don't have any old barn ruins to tear down! Maybe I'll be able to buy an old property one day, and try this out!
What a cool <a href="http://www.tiptonlandscaping.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping</a> idea! I have a friend who owns old farm property but has had no idea what to do with it. I am going to have to send this his way. Thanks for the inspiration.
Wow, this is incredible. I've always loved the textures in Japanese rock gardens. I find it very relaxing and visually stunning in it's starkness. I wish I had a place on my property to create some <a href="http://evergreenos.com" rel="nofollow">landscaping</a> like this. I will just have to admire yours from afar, I guess. Maybe one day that will change, though, and I will have my own. Until then, thanks for sharing!
Only if we all had a Backhoe.
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genius and gorgeous!! <br />
Creative and green at the same time.&nbsp; This is a good role model for others to follow.
Wow wow wow This is excellent and great. A huge project. Where is this place?Greetings from Winnipeg!
Hi Winnipeg, I just got back from there last Thursday. Small world. We are located in southern Ontario. Glad you liked the garden.
That looks amazing
this was a perfect example of creativity and talent, with a georgeous final product!
beautiful! wanna come make me one? lol it looks like your hard work paid off!
Sure, I'll come make one for you, (as they say in the old country and western song... "If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time";) thx for the compliments...
Truly stunning job! And a really well-written instructable, too! Well done.
Nice. The raked area?....is small rocks or sand?...I have an area with four large rhododendrums I'd love to do something like this in. We put down weed barrier and mulch, but after a couple years the weeds and seedlings are taking over.
the raked area is made of stone screenings from a local gravel pit. When they crush rock, very small bits fall through the screens which they save and sell at a reasonable price. When you rake it, it holds its wave shape through many rains. It can be raked again whenever you want without much difficulty.
thanks. May have to try .
That is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I was in a bad mood until I saw that. Now I feel all peaceful and calm.
All I can say is, "WOW!"
You did a lovely, lovely job!
very attractive :-)
Eltigre, I can't believe my eyes - if I am right, you have Zetor on your pictures. How the heck did it get from the small european country as The Czech Republic is to Canada??? Anyway, I am really pleased to see a piece of my country on your pictures :-)
You are correct Maslo, A Zetor 5245 is my strong friend. We have dealers here in Canada but I bought this one third hand. Very strong tough tractor, it has paid for itself many times over. Good eyes you have there...
Your work is commendable. I sure did like the look of your barn, though. Although a photo doesn't always show the detail of an actual eyeball perusal, I sure wish I had such a barn on my little 5 acres! I think about the incredible studio I could have built using much of the existing barn structure. To each his/her own, I guess? Best of luck in life. Happy Trails. Pete in the Minnesota woods.
Yes, we were sad to have to take it down, but the price estimates we got to rebuild it were over 300,000. Yikes...
Hi, you need not answer this as I know we are all busy, but I was just wondering where you live? (Just the state). It looks beautiful. I am, as I indicated, in east central Minnesota. My woods are mostly Red Oak, Birch, scattered Evergreens, and some Popple, Ash, etc. The trees are sorta close together, but walking around is unhindered by scrub. It's quite pretty and quiet. Happy Trails, Pete
We live in Southern Canada. We too have mostly maple on the grounds, but also some really nice Spruce, pine, walnut and oak as well. Very nice colours in the fall, the maples sure know what they are doing.
5 stars from me. I feel better about life just looking at the pics :-).
WOW... just WOW im speachless, great job
I'm pleased you enjoyed it like most of our visitors. It's magical to sit in there on a summer day and drink tea while listening to the song birds... pure Zen People love to play with that silly rake as well. This summer we added a herb garden to the south side and a salvaged deck that blends right in.
Now that is what I call inspiration. It's beautiful what you have done. Do you teach, you should.
Oooohhh .. very nice.
WOW, that's really amazing!
That is just crazy beautiful!

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Bio: Inventing (and breaking stuff to see how it works) since before the turn of the century...
More by eltigre: ~ 1 Step Belt Holder ~ ~ Pro Footrest from Salvaged Materials ~ ~ Recycled Shop Storage Solutions ~
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