Creating an Indoor Zen Garden

Creating an Indoor Zen Garden

The main concept behind a zen garden is that of peace and openness, bringing together good luck and prosperity. Its about celebrating humanity's place in the universe. A zen garden can be of any shape and size, depending wholly on your resources.

TIP: "Go to a local rock shop or geology museum to find unique ideas for your zen garden."

Step 1 - Decide on a Location

Decide on an appropriate location for your indoor zen garden. It can either sit in a living area, a bedroom or a patio. It should be located somewhere you spend a lot of time and can relax. If possible, place it near a live plant or fish tank.

Step 2 - Build a Frame

Once you have decided on the location, you need to build the frame for the garden. There are no hard and fast rules regarding the frame structure or type. You can make anything as long as it holds some significance in your life and makes you feel good. If you are building a zen garden on the smaller side, all you need to do is find 4 pieces of 1x2 inch lumber and either nail them or glue them together to make a shallow box. Cut a piece of plywood to fit the box and glue and screw it to the frame as a bottom panel.

TIP: Our expert gardening advisor Rachel Klein adds, "A flat glass dish works well and requires no construction. Zen garden sets are sold in bookstores and online, seriously cutting down on assembly time."

Step 3 - Fill with Sand and Objects

Purchase a bag of sand from any gardening or hobby store and fill the frame to the top with it. The sand has to be at least 2 inches deep. If the sand is not deep enough, it will look patchy and thin when raked. Smooth the surface of the sand with a soft brush. Smoothing the sand is an essential part of zen gardening. Add a few calming, soothing objects to your garden. These could include pleasantly shaped and colored old, weathered rocks or stones, or any other object you please.

TIP: Rachel suggests, "Place them off center and slightly submerged for the best effect. Don't clutter your zen garden. They are meant to be simple and peaceful."

Keep plants to a minimum, since the sand will not nourish them appropriately. The zen garden has to be open and have a feeling of tranquility about it.

TIP: Rachel adds, "Consider adding selectively placed lighting, either by flame or bulb, to accentuate your garden at night. Colored bulbs add a whole new dimension for your garden as the sun goes down."

Step 4 - Rake the Sand

Using a small rake, rake the sand in curving patterns, much like ocean waves. You need to rake only the top inch of sand, going with the flow. There is no defined shape you need to rake it in, do what feels best to you. You can even use a back scratcher or chopstick to do the raking.

Step 5 - Alter the Objects

All the objects you place in your zen garden must be devoid of sharp corners, and have only rounded edges. The idea is simple: easy, pleasant objects create positive energy and will be able to flow from the garden into the room and the environment. You can add and remove objects from the garden if and when you please, changing them with your moods and feelings. The purpose of the garden is to make you feel content and happy, so work along those lines to create a little piece of heaven in your own home. It will not be long before you begin to feel the difference.

TIP: Rachel recommends, "If you have space in your yard, a full scale zen garden is a very tranquil and beautiful addition to any garden. Learn how to build a large zen garden."