A DIY project to focus on Zen practice. Zen gardens are one of the most breathtaking sites you have ever seen. They are from Japan and used to help Zen Buddhist monks meditate daily. The monks raked the sand daily to maintain its distinct pattern and to discourage the growth of vegetation. They also spent time in a specific place in the garden to observe, reflect and meditate. Okay, maybe we don’t have the time or space to create and maintain a traditional Zen garden. We can engage in this practice and reap the benefits by creating our miniature Japanese garden. The layout only takes a few materials and a small portion of your time. Follow our step-by-step tutorial and visit the gallery below, where you will find lots of inspiring examples.
Zen sand gardens are also called “karesansui” or “dry landscape.” Traditional Zen gardens do not include plants or water to achieve abstraction and promote tranquility and calm. As such, the placement of stones and sand makes a lot of sense and intention. The stones represent islands, mountains, and trees, while the sand patterns represent flowing water. While this is the traditional approach, you don’t need to stick to these elements. Contemporary mini gardens feature modern accents such as colored sand, mini trees, and even decorative knickknacks. Keep in mind that you are creating a space for relaxation and mindfulness. Anything you add should complement those emotions.
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A DIY project to focus on Zen practice
· Mini rake
Some craft stores sell mini rakes specially designed for a miniature Japanese garden. You can also DIY one.
The container depends on your taste. Choosing a glass one is ideal for an elegant approach, while a wooden box borrows a more natural vibe.
Fine-grained sand shows the patterns better, but you can add a fun touch with colored sand as well.
Air plants are a popular choice for Zen gardens because they don’t need soil. Choose varieties that are compact and don’t grow too tall.
· Essential oils (optional)
Add your favorite essential oils to the sand to enhance the relaxing benefits of your mini garden.
Use outdoor stones if you want to give your Zen garden an authentic and natural look.
· Step 1 – Fill the container with sand and essential oils.
Pour the sand into the container and shake it from side to side to even out. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils if you want a miniature Japanese garden that is aromatic.
· Step 2 – Place stones and knickknacks in your garden.
Stones are one of the most important aspects of a Zen garden. You can place them all in a corner or far from each other. Change the arrangement later if you want to change the look.
· Step 3 – Add plants.
Plants aren’t a part of traditional Zen gardens, but they’re a great way to bring in an element of nature. If you plan to have live plants (in addition to air plants) in your garden, place a divider around the area where you will place the plant before pouring it in the sand. Once you’ve divided the space, add rocks along the bottom of the plant area before adding soil. It will help the water to drain away when watering the plant.
· Step 4 – Create a pattern on the sand with a mini rake.
Since this is a mini Zen garden, you can rake the patterns as many times as you want. Raking is an excellent practice of mindfulness. It can ease the mind when you need to relax.
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