What is a Zen Garden and How to Make One? – Complete DIY Guide

This post may contains affiliate links. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more details.

Zen Garden, otherwise known as the Japanese Rock Garden, is a type of garden where the true essence of nature is recreated using rocks, pebbles, sand, and even gravel. The main idea behind creating a Zen Garden is to obtain peace, tranquility, calmness, and improve mental and psychological health.

With the increasing workloads, pressures, challenges, and difficulties in our day to day lives, it becomes all the more important to take a break and relax. Zen Gardens create that exact atmosphere, at your desk, in your office, and in your home.

They provide the much-needed break from the rhetorics of the world and soothe your mind and soul, giving you some stress-relief through meditation.

What is the Purpose of the Zen Garden?

Many of us have heard about Zen Gardens and even like their design and ambiance. However,  most wonder what the point of Zen gardens is, or where they originated from. Zen Gardens originated hundreds of years ago in Japan. 

The word Zen is derived from Mahayana Buddhism. It is a Japanese sect that believes in reaching inner peace through meditation, rather than by preaching to sculptures. Zen Gardens carry this same philosophy and provide a space where you can meditate to achieve serenity.

Its main aim is to bring a relaxing energy along with a soothing and meditative effect. It generates calmness in the atmosphere and helps us attain inner peace through self-realization by meditating.

What are the Elements of a Zen Garden?

Zen Garden DIY

When you hear the word garden, an image of a lush and green area with lots of water and plants immediately comes to mind. But Zen Gardens are completely different, having none or very few plants or flowers.

It consists of a dry landscape that includes various natural and man-made elements. Each element has its significance, purpose, and value. Although the creative and man-made elements can vary as per your creative choice, there are certain natural elements which are key to every Zen Garden, including:

Sand – Sand is used to fill up the space of your garden. It signifies our lives. It is usually white and is spread across patterns to symbolize the twist and turns of human life.

Rock – Rock is another key element of the Zen garden. It symbolizes anger, emotions, obstacles, and our issues. They also serve as a gesture of strength and power. 

Bridges – These, too, play an important part of Zen gardens, and signify the transition of life from one stage to another.

Besides these, you can also use many other elements such as gravel, stones, bamboo, wood, and moss. All of these elements can add to the soothing design of the garden and add to positivity.

Mini Zen Garden

Although the term garden is generally associated with a large area of land, the best thing about Zen Gardens is that you can set these up anywhere you want. So if you do happen to have a backyard or a lawn to set up your Zen garden, you do not need to worry much.

Your tabletop and home or desk space at work might just be enough.
Also, despite their small sizes, they do an equally good job of creating a relaxed atmosphere. Also, they help bring peace, tranquility, serenity, and calmness in the surroundings. These are easy to set up too and don’t even take much of your time or effort.

Mini Zen Garden for a Home

Mini Zen Garden

We all want to relax and obtain some peace in our homes. A Zen Garden can be an ideal choice to create a relaxing atmosphere and promote peace and calmness. It can allow you to reflect within and find inner peace.

Creating a Zen Garden at home can be a fun activity. You can just pour in some sand in a container or a mold to begin. Thereafter, you can create various designs using various elements, based on the space and Zen garden tools you have.

Mini Zen Garden for the Office or Workspace

The office is another place where we spend a whole lot of our time. Besides, we are under constant work pressure and are overwhelmed with multiple things. Having a mini Zen Garden at your office, your desktop space, or tabletop can be a good idea. It can help to create a peaceful atmosphere in your work surroundings.

Again, you can just simply pour in some sand and gravel in a mold or container to begin. After that, you can add rocks and use other elements to create your design. Once ready, you can place it near your desk. That will help you get much-needed breaks from work pressure. As a result, when you restart working again, you can focus better and be more positive.

How to Create a Zen Garden?

Make your own zen garden

Zen Gardens are very easy to create. You can create them virtually anywhere you want. Be it your office, inside your home, or even your backyard. It all depends upon your creativity and imagination to set it up wherever you want.

All you are required to do is to create a design as per a dry soothing landscape. You can either let your imagination run wild, or you can look up some cool Zen garden designs on the web. You can easily come across some great ideas which you could try and implement.

Here’s one of our easy DIY which shows you how to create your own mini Zen garden:

  • Take a glass container or a wooden box, and put some sand in it. You should prefer white sand, but you can also try colored sand if you want to try something different.
  • Spread the sand equally across the container. Make some cool patterns, which can depict the ripple effect. You can use a few drops of Jojoba oil to ensure that the sand gives a wet look and also holds the pattern in place for longer periods.
  • Add to the design by placing some rocks or stones in any particular pattern, as you like. Try various designs until you finalize on one.
  • You can try and add some trinkets, small green plants, or other creative material per your choice. This not only enhances your Zen Garden, but it also gives it a personal touch.
  • Your Zen garden is ready. You can now place it at your home or office. You can also make design changes or additions whenever you want. These may include adding a fence made of toothpicks or forks, or maybe a bridge made out of a spoon.

There are endless ways through which you can create your Zen Garden and add a personal touch to it. Besides bringing in calm and peace, Zen gardens also help in bringing out your creativity and imagination.

Also, if you have a backyard, then you can even convert that into Zen Garden backyard using the same elements on a larger scale.

Create your zen garden


In this high paced world we are living in, with an enormous amount of pressures and responsibilities on our shoulders, it is important to take a break. We all need a quick escape, to explore our inner conscience and derive some peace.

Zen Gardens are a unique way of providing that calmness we all desire. It promotes the philosophy of meditation. It pushes and inspires us at the same time to attain mental peace. It is scenic, beautiful and you can create it yourself.

You can place it at your home or your office using your creativity and imagination, and thus create a small, yet attractive reflection of a serene atmosphere that will bring positivity in your life.

This will eventually allow you to have a better quality of life besides allowing you to express your creativity, imagination, and enhancing your psychological health.

Read more: 

16 Great DIY Grass Free Yard Ideas
How to Build a Hydroponic Garden?
25 Awesome DIY Stamped Concrete Patio Ideas

Leave a Comment