DIY Zen Gardens – Inside & Out

Zen gardens originated in Japan and are also referred to as rock or “dry landscape” gardens. Buddhist monks created them to meditate and connect with nature. Miniature zen gardens are designed as miniature landscapes where rocks represent mountains, moss and small plants represent trees, and gravel raked in designs mimics ripples in water. Outdoor zen gardens can bring peace and serenity to homeowners.

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Mini Zen Gardens

Zen gardens are gorgeous to observe at full scale, but you can reap the benefits of these peaceful landscapes by making a miniature zen garden for a desk or table as well. Mini gardens relieve stress and anxiety and help increase concentration and mindfulness. Many people keep them on their desk to use as mental breaks, while some keep them as entertainment for guests. Regardless of how you use it, a mini zen garden will brighten your day by bringing a bit of nature indoors.

Creating a miniature indoor zen garden is simple.  Just follow these steps:

  1. First, you need a small dish or container. Decorative dishes work well for stationary gardens.
  2. Natural or colored play sand work equally well. Choose a texture and color that bring you happiness.
  3. To draw patterns in the sand, you can use a variety of items. Some people draw with their finger, while others may use a sharp object like a toothpick for single lines. Most people stick with the traditional method of using a small rake implement  to create the design.
  4. Finally, use small natural items to decorate your garden if you wish. Often rocks are placed or stacked in the gardens, but you can also use moss, crystals, mini bonsai trees or other items. Choose pieces that help you feel calm and connected to nature.

    To assemble, fill your container with sand. Add enough sand to rake into designs, but not so much that the container overflows. Place natural items mindfully—think about the landscape you would like to create instead of simply tossing in the items. Is there a range of “mountains” on one end? Are they “craggy” (made with jagged-edged stones) or smooth (using tumbled rocks)? Where are there “plants” growing? Once your items are placed, rake the sand into various designs and enjoy your relaxing miniature zen garden.

Bring Zen to the Outdoors

Outdoor zen gardens can give Tampa and Sarasota homeowners a peaceful oasis in their own backyard. There is often a water feature in the middle of the garden, whether a koi pond or a multi-tiered fountain. Bonsai trees or topiary type shrubs, beautiful flowers, river rocks and a comfortable seating area can round out your own private sanctuary.
One of our favorite ways to begin a zen garden is to find a few architectural elements which speak to you. These unique features inspire contemplation and concentration, making your garden a place of serenity. (Check out some great inspiration right here.)  Once the main pieces are in place, choose plants, trees and flowers to continue the theme of your garden. A great place to consider building your garden is under a shade tree to enhance comfort.

Big Earth Landscape Supply has the containers, fountains, rocks and implements you need to build your zen gardens, no matter the size. Shop our online store today to get started on all of your landscaping and gardening projects.