Learn all about mazes and labyrinths
The labyrinth and the maze symbolize man’s search for the goal. He deliberately goes on detours, circles around himself, always looking for the middle – the goal. This idea was also implemented in the garden. Often the gardens were used by the upper class to disperse the senses, as a pastime and pleasure. While a maze always leads to the goal, but there are several ways to get there, the maze, as the name suggests, leads astray. Originally a single path branches out to many paths, all but one of which end in a dead end.
The story behind it: the human search for the goal
The idea of the labyrinth and maze is already around 4000 years old – according to legend, the first labyrinth was created in Crete, in the old palace of Knossos. King Minos is said to have kept the Minortaurus, a man with a bull’s head, in a dungeon designed as a labyrinth to protect people from him. In the time of Italian Mannerism the maze and the labyrinth found their way into the garden. Both are fascinating elements of garden art that have been represented in the garden again and again since ancient times. In the 17th and 18th centuries, these were made even more complicated, lush and difficult to solve. The gardens were very popular well into the 18th century and all of Europe succumbed to a veritable maze and layrinth fever.
The oldest maze in Europe – Altjessnitz maze
The oldest european maze is in Germany. The garden was laid out in the first half of the 18th century and extends over an area of approx. 2,600 m². It is Germany’s oldest and largest baroque maze. The maze has 2 meter high hornbeam hedges which ensure that visitors are sure to lose their bearings. The center of the garden is a viewing platform. This is approx. 400 meters from the entrance and ideally can be reached in 6 minutes. Nevertheless, many visitors often wander around for hours.
Features and design differences: maze & labyrinth
- Artificial plant
- An original path branches out to many paths, all but one of which end in a dead end
- There is a network of paths with branches, dead ends, crossings and loops
- A real “going astray” is achieved
- Target place, often with a view
- Only one way leads to the center without branching
- Winding way
- Several paths lead to the goal
- Regular change of direction
- target place
The labyrinths have always fascinated me with their perfect garden design – no matter what I just discovered: stones laid on the grass in a simple spiral formation, a seven-circle pattern or even a more elaborate Chartres design. A labyrinth is an ancient spiritual model that can be found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. There is only one way in the labyrinth. The path you go on leads you out. Inside is a complicated detour and only then does it go out. To cut a long story short: a labyrinth garden is an intentionally designed model. It’s a metaphor for the human journey through life. In today’s article we want to present you with eight useful tips on how to create a maze or maze yourself.
How to create a maze yourself
Tip 1 – facing east
Many people believe that the entrance to your maze must absolutely face east. So, your first path has to start in the east. This is based on the idea that the altars of the churches were built facing east and they are still being built that way. However, also note the view. Now that you’ve already determined the entrance, you can now turn your attention to a calming view inside the maze, which can make your hiking experience even more enjoyable.
Create a maze yourself – important tips to follow
Tip 2 – the tour
There is no single right way to go through a maze. Start right where the beginning is and move on to the middle and back again. Also the reason for going there can vary significantly from one day to the next. You can seek calm and serenity, relief after experiencing grief or joy. You could take your tour alone or with a good friend or group of friends. But in all cases you have to watch out for your feelings and emotions here in your maze garden.
Create a maze yourself – a symbol of calm and serenity
Tip 3 – break free
It might be helpful to think of your maze as a unit of three parts: liberate yourself, receive, and come back. The process of inner liberation begins at the entrance and as you continue to the center of the maze you have to try to free yourself from thoughts and emotions and calm your mind.
Tip 4 – Receive
You are in the moment of receiving when you reach the center of the maze. The center there is the place to receive what is there for you. Here you are in a meditating state.
Tip 5 – the return
On the way back, you feel excited to take with you what you have already received, you are full of energy and you go back to your world.
Tip 6 – Paths for the disabled with wheelchairs
A labyrinth garden must also be accessible to disabled people in wheelchairs. Therefore the paths and ways there should be wider. When you design your garden, keep this special feature in mind so that many people can visit it. In any case, you will achieve a larger overall design. Usually of medium size, the labyrinth gardens are 12 to 15 meters in diameter. But in special cases the diameter can be up to 30 meters.
Tip 7 – materials
Depending on the surface of the labyrinth garden, you can in principle use any material to create the circles. The reason could be an old driveway with painted lines on a grassy area with stones. Use materials that you enjoy working with at low cost.
Tip 8 – One step forward
Many people have noticed that looking at a maze also brings serenity. It opens the mind to medieval places and can have a refreshing effect on our senses. The mazes are becoming increasingly popular and in demand in today’s society. Whenever and wherever you find a labyrinth garden, do not doubt it, step in and begin your tour. So you are definitely taking a step forward.
How do I create a maze garden in my yard?
Labyrinths come in many different designs, but three main styles have already proven to be common: the so-called Chartes pattern, which is named after a medieval French cathedral, the seven circular pattern described here, and a simple spiral in the grass with detours or just a spiral pattern over rocks. Do you already have an idea how you can create a maze garden, 6 by 6 meters, simple spiral in an area of 8 meters?
Step 1: On the existing lawn or gravel, first measure equal distances at the four corners to form a square and mark it. Then mark both diagonals with the help of a long cord to find the center point.
Step 2: create the paths by starting from the midpoint. It would be best if you use a very long piece of string, attach one end to a pole in the center, and then walk around in a perfect circle. With the help of the string, you can mark the area again, then use landscaper spray with paint to clearly draw the outline of the spiral.
Step 3: Then cover the markings with objects of your choice – stone, gravel, grass, seashells or whatever you fancy.
The width of the paths depends on the area of your labyrinth garden. Usually they are between 45 cm and 75 cm wide. But if you have a larger area, for example 14 meters by 14 meters, then you can also create wider paths in the maze yourself, 75 cm would then be the necessary path width.
The Labyrinth Gardens are a symbol of calm and serenity for many people. Even the ancient Romans built many labyrinths, they also left us several decorative labyrinth designs on walls and floors made of tiles and mosaic, as symbolic references. So, if you don’t have the opportunity to create your own labyrinth garden, look for one near you. Just go for a walk there and you will definitely feel better and recharge your batteries there. Nowadays everyone needs that in our dynamic everyday life!
If you are looking for more ideas for landscaping, then you should check out this great collection of garden designs. Here you will find a lot of ideas for your garden! Starting with building a pool yourself in the backyard to contemporary garden designs and of course how to build a labyrinth yourself in your garden!