Stress Rest: Make a Tabletop Zen Garden
This easy-to-create mini zen garden might help ward off stress.
Zen gardens are traditionally carefully composed landscapes with arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes. Some also incorporate gravel or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water. Since we all don’t have the time or patience to create a beautiful zen garden in our backyards, try this tabletop version.
- bowl or plate
- sand (any color)
- river stones (any color)
- bamboo skewer (or a mini rake if you can find one)
Craft supply stores have sand available in many colors. The finer sands will show designs better than the coarse ones. For this project, any color will do—go crazy!
Fill your plate of bowl with sand. Give the plate or bowl a gentle shake to get the sand to settle evenly over the surface. Use the bamboo skewer to push any grains of sand off the sides of the plate or bowl.
Arrange your rocks. In traditional zen gardens, the arrangement of stones is the most important part of the garden. In fact, here are very specific rules for stone arrangement in Japanese rock garden manuals. Place your stones mindfully with the best sides facing out. You can also place them randomly or in a specific pattern.
Draw in your ripples. There's no right or wrong way to do this. Traditionally, the "raking" of the sand is suppose to look like water. The garden is meant to resemble a dry river. That's the great part about sand: if you don't like what your draw, it's just a simple shake to "erase" the pattern and start over.
Try swapping out the sand and rock colors for a different look. Draw swirls instead of lines. There are so many ways to personalize your Zen garden.
Zen gardens make great gifts. Make one for a friend who's having a rough week at work. Gifting a bit a Zen will make you feel great too.