15 miniature zen garden ideas for relaxing

Karesansui is the Japanese name of zen garden, which translates to dry mountain and water garden. The main components of zen garden are stones and gravel, with plants and water being the optional components. In case of miniature zen gardens, they are either kept on your desktop or used as home decor in your living room. So for miniature zen garden water feature can be avoided.

A zen garden is a Japanese form of dry garden, where nature is represented in a miniature form by using stones and sand or gravel.

miniature zen garden diy

Most Zen gardens are dry gardens made of stones and gravel only, without any living components. Gravel is preferred to sand, as it is least disturbed by wind and rain. For mini Zen gardens, sand is used because of the small size of the garden. Here is another art form which shows Japanese people’s love for nature: Ikebana flower arrangement 

zen garden decor

Image [ Via: Gardenista A complete DIY for a desktop mini zen garden by Justine Hand ]

Lets take a look at how we can make a miniature zen garden.?  Advantage of  mini zen garden is you can try out different designs depending on your time and mood. These design represent various phenomenons of nature. All the miniature zen garden accessories are easily available and they can be collected with out much hassle. They are really inexpensive and something that every one can try it out at home.

Meaning of zen garden

In short, a zen garden can be described as an aerial view of a coastal area, where land meets sea. The stones in a zen garden represent features that stand above water such as islands, mountains or big rocks. The sand represents water feature like sea or ocean. Various patterns are drawn in sand using a rake. These patterns represent waves or ripples formed in water.

You can create various patterns depending on your imagination. The plants used in a zen garden represent the miniature version of actual plants. Only moss and some varieties of uniformly growing plants like air plants or some succulents  are used for this. The procedure of making patterns using rake called samon serves aesthetic as well as spiritual purpose.

mini zen garden buddha

Here is a complete DIY from instructables.com

zen garden with moss


How to make a mini zen garden:

  • Collect all the materials required: 1) Sand, 2) Pebbles 3) Rake 4) Container or box 5) Essential oil 6) Plants ( mosses , air plants or succulents )
  • Collect sand and pebbles from a beach, but make sure you clean them up. Get rid of bugs, dirt and  twigs from the sand you collected.
  • If you don’t want to collect sand from beach, good quality coloured sands are available in various online craft stores or floral stores.
  • Pour the sand in the container you choose. it can be a glass container which adds extra beauty to your decorative min zen garden. You can arrange it on normal box or container, here container doesn’t matter much.
  • Pour few drops of essential oil so that it gives you an aroma, which helps you to concentrate while you rake the pattern on the sand. This will give you a relaxing ambiance.
  • Adding some jojoba oil can give a wet look to sand, it need to be added in right proportion. It helps to keep the pattern you draw on the sand for longer time.
  • Place the different sized and coloured pebbles . Then you can plant some plants ( most commonly used are succulents, air plants or mosses ). This will give a living touch to your desktop zen garden.
  • Use the rake to draw various patterns. Use decorative pieces to add extra beauty.

Here is an infographic on how to make min zen garden by Yumi sakugawa.

The below inspiration is a miniature zen garden which represent yin yang. Yin and Yang are two half and together they represent completeness. Here you can find more details about Yin – yang : What is yin- yang ?

ying yang zen garden

Most Japanese temples have zen gardens in their compound, where the monks practice samon to increase their concentration. It also gives a meditating effect to those who are watching this. The art of drawing patterns forms the essence of a zen garden.

miniature zen with candle

Benefits of miniature zen garden:

Having a mini zen garden in your home helps you to increase your concentration, by drawing different patterns. You can redraw the patterns in sand as and when you desire according to your imagination.

You can involve your kids to join in creating a perfect zen garden. The method of raking can be explained by a simple example. Imagine a frog jumping into water. The stone in zen garden represents frog and sand represents water. The pattern should be drawn in the form of concentric circles surrounding the stone, like the ripples in water. Although it may seem easy, this art of making continuous patterns requires patience and extreme concentration.

miniature zen garden with sand

sand zen garden

Below we have  some of the desktop zen garden inspirations using colorful sands. Lets take a look at various pattern drawn on the sand. Use your imagination to be creative and come up with different patterns.

colourful mini zen garden

mini zen garden airplane

succulent zen garden

table top zen garden

mini zen garden succulent

A miniature zen garden for outdoor using pebbles and rocks is shown below. It uses succulents to represent the living element. Pebbles or gravels can be arranged in various fashion which represent nature and its behaviour.

zen garden with succulent

Let us know if any of these inspirations helped you to start your own desktop miniature zen garden. Its an easy do it yourself which any one can try it out without much effort and money. You need a lot a patience to draw the patterns, but in return it help you to build up your concentration and gives a relaxing mood to your mind.

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  1. carla jooste
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