How to Create an Indoor Zen Garden

The Zen Garden is the western name often used to refer to a Japanese Rock Garden. The Japanese Rock Garden is an ancient art form that is designed to cultivate meditative thought.

Basic Ingredients

Costa Rican Zen Garden

The essential elements of a Zen Garden are rocks and sand.

The two basic ingredients of a Zen garden are sand and rocks. Many suggest the sand represents the ocean and the rocks represent islands or mountains. However, these gardens do not have to be limited to these items. A Zen garden can incorporate elements of plant life as well, such as bonsai or other small plants. Large Japanese rock gardens are raked daily to create different patterns in the sand that inspire a number of different natural images. Small indoor Japanese rock gardens can be raked with a miniature rake to promote contemplation and relaxation.

Ideal Office Setting

The stark simpleness of a Zen garden combined with the calming influences of meditation and contemplation make them ideal for an office setting. For an interior landscaper, they are easy to craft, install and maintain. They are perfect for reception desks, reception area coffee tables or even conference room tables.


To start you need a bowl shaped container. It is ideal for this container to be wider than it is tall. Next fill it with very fine sand. White sand is often the most attractive. If you don’t want to fill the entire container with sand, you can place some smaller empty containers upside down in the bowl. This will help take up space and prevent the bowl from becoming too heavy.

Next place a few items such as river rocks, decorative glass rocks, or other small round and smooth items on top of the sand. Don’t go overboard adding items. You want the Zen garden to be sparse and simple with plenty of room to design in the sand.

Place a miniature rake on top of the sand with the other items. This rake can be crafted by gluing together a few cut up bamboo skewers or you can purchase these rakes at various shops online.

It is not traditional to add plants to the Zen garden, but it can create a nice look. Simply place a small potted succulent or mounted air plant in the bowl with the other items. Place any potted items in the bowl before you add the sand then add the sand around them to hide the container. You may want to place the pot in a slightly larger container so you can just slip the plant out to water it and avoid getting the sand wet. A small mounted air plant can be placed directly on top of the sand.

Relieving Stress

These small scale Zen gardens will help busy employees relax and calm down. Having a tool to help relieve stress around the office is ideal for many employers. You indoor landscaping clients will enjoy the simple and classic look of the Zen garden as well as its stress relieving qualities.

Where could you use a Zen garden?


“Creating an Indoor Zen Garden.” Do It Yourself.
“What is a Zen Garden.” WiseGeek.
DIY Zen Garden.” Free People.
Image: Costa Rican Zen Garden by Scott Robinson.


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