zen garden in spring with red leafed vines on wall

Zen Garden

The Contemporary Zen Garden design combines some ideals of Japanese Zen Buddhist garden philosophy with contemporary minimalist sculpture and architecture. Organic shapes and textures contrast and compliment the smooth geometric shapes and textures. Like a true traditional Japanese garden, this specialized outdoor living classroom has limited access and visitors are encouraged to view the garden through the windows around the courtyard.

The experience of viewing the garden through the windows replicates the original Zen monastery experience of viewing Zen courtyard sand and gravel gardens from platforms at the sides of the gardens. Some aspects of a traditional Zen Garden have been modified to allow for both wheelchair accessibility and the climate of the courtyard space.

Zen Garden Re-Dedication Ceremony April 21, 2011

Zen Garden Etiquette Guidelines

The Zen Garden at McHenry County College is a place for reflection, tranquility, and renewal. As a visitor, please be respectful of the creatures, natural materials, objects and plants that grace our garden, as well as other guests who may seek respite and solitude

  • Please refrain from sitting or climbing on rocks, sculpture, trees and shrubs, and walking on or disturbing raked gravel areas and gardening beds.
  • Please stay on the designated pathway and use the stepping stones to walk to the bench.
  • Eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited in the garden.
  • Music, cell phones, and loud voices are prohibited in the garden. 
  • Service animals only are permitted in the garden. Hours: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or by arrangement

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