How to Create a Backyard Labyrinth One Step at a Time
A Completed Backyard Labyrinth
How to Create Your Own Labyrinth
I was challenged this afternoon to create a simple backyard labyrinth and to take pictures at each stage of the building process to illustrate how it is done. The design I used is one of the simplest to create: a three-circuit path that turns around the center three times before the walker finally enters the heart of the path. The same path is walked from the heart-center back out to the entrance.
The Diagram of Movement in Building a Labyrinth
Below is a diagram of the process for building a simple three-circuit labyrinth path. The dark brown lines and dots indicate the basic "seed pattern." The lighter brown lines are the borders to the path in the order they are meant to be created, from the center radiating out in a clockwise motion. The diagram is meant to clarify the stages illustrated in the photo images of the backyard labyrinth built with sticks in the grass between my gardens. The dots are the places where walkers will turn on the path.
Step 1: A Two-Fold Process
Choose a Location
The first step for creating a simple backyard labyrinth path is to choose the location that works best for you. A large patch of land that has enough room for you and other walkers to navigate the path into the center and back out again is ideal. Such a space would be around 32 feet long and 32 feet wide.
Create the "Seed Pattern"
The "seed pattern" is like the basic "skeleton" of the labyrinth. For a 3-circuit labyrinth, the "seed pattern" is a cross with dots in the four "quadrants." The cross needs to be at least 2 feet wide in all directions (top, bottom, left and right) and the dots halfway between a vertical line and a horizontal line, with no less than 12 inches on either side. This distance will determine the width of the paths that the walkers will have to move around.
Step 2: Create the Center of the Labyrinth
The second step of building a labyrinth is to create the center. It is the innermost space of the path and the shortest distance between a "line" (stick) and a "dot" (rock, cluster of pine needles, pine cone, or any other natural object that can be easily seen in the grass).
Move Left to Right or Clockwise
The movement of building the stick borders for the path is clockwise, so creating the borders to the paths will always begin at the left and move toward the right. You will start with a line and end at a dot, then start with a dot and end at a line.
Step 3: The Path Around the Center
After you create your center, it's time to start working out from there. The stick borders will begin to grow longer as you work your way out. Make sure there is at least a foot between the sticks surrounding the center and the stick border for the path adjacent to it. Start from the dot to the left of the center and build the stick border for the section of the path that circles closest to the center, moving to the right until you reach the stick "line" of the cross to the right of the center.
Step 4: The Middle Section of the Path
You are almost halfway through the process of building your backyard labyrinth. The middle section of the path is longer than the one you've just created. It begins on the next line to the left of the dot that you just used, or at the left horizontal "stick" line that is perpendicular to the vertical line of the cross. Make sure that it is at least a foot away from the inner stick border. This will give you room to walk the path between the stick borders when the path is finished.
Note: I hope you are still with me on this. Keep referring to the diagram if you begin to feel lost.
Step 5: The Final Section of the Path
The final stick border you will create is the longest section of the path. This section begins at the dot below the stick line you just used to create the middle section of the path. Keep moving right to land on the bottom vertical line of the cross. Keep the 12-inch distance between this stick border and the middle one so that all of the sections of the path have the same amount of room.
You have completed building your own backyard labyrinth! Take a step back. Do you see the entrance to the left of where you just landed? Now step in and walk the entire path between the borders you just created. Does it bring you to the center and back out again? if so, it's a success!
Walking My Backyard Labyrinth Path
Tips for Walking a Labyrinth
Here are some tips for walking a labyrinth:
- Move through the labyrinth in any way you are inspired to. There is no wrong way to walk a labyrinth.
- Be true to your experience in the here and now. Notice the environment that surrounds the path.
- There is only 1 path in and out, so you won't get lost.
- The labyrinth is an ancient form of walking meditation that often leads to transformation. Whatever memories and emotions surface do so for a reason and deserve to be honored.
- Your experience on the path is the one you are meant to have.
- Pause a moment at the Center to acknowledge with gratitude the Wisdom that you have found on the path.
- Walking with a group of trusted companions increases the power of labyrinth walk meditation, and promotes resiliency in challenging times.
© 2017 Karen A Szklany