Make a Miniature Zen Garden

For centuries, Japanese Zen masters have cultivated gardens of harmoniously arranged rocks and raked gravel, creating silent havens for peaceful contemplation. If you don’t have room for a full-sized rock garden, a miniature Zen garden provides an opportunity to appreciate the same relaxation and harmony.

You can make a garden for yourself in 5 easy steps:

  1. Make or buy a container. Usually miniature Zen gardens are rectangular, but they don’t have to be. You might use a box, dish, or pan. The important thing is that the sides are high enough to contain the sand. I have sometimes used attractive picture frames that I found at thrift stores (after removing the stand or any hangers on the back that would keep them from lying flat).
  2. Fill with clean sand. You can use play sand (sold for use in sandboxes). Don’t use silica sand as it can be harmful if inhaled.
  3. Buy or make a mini rake. ToPort is an excellent source for purchasing a rake or you can make one by following these instructions.
  4. Find or purchase 3 to 4 rocks that appeal to you.
  5. Rake a pattern in the sand and arrange your rocks.

Rearrange the rocks and rake any time you’re feeling stressed. For a moment, the day’s problems are reduced to a few waves of sand against the rocks. The inner contemplation and calm can lead to a fresh outlook and clear mind. Zen gardening is an antidote to the stresses of modern living; you’ll come away feeling that the rest of life has become simpler.

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