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>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.
Only if we all had a Backhoe.
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!

About This Instructable




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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