Weekend Activity: Build your own Zen Garden

Japanese Zen Gardens are known for their calming effects and for centuries gardeners in Japan have cultivated, groomed and maintained Zen rock gardens and their dry landscape style called Karesansui (“withered landscape”).

Scientist analyzing one of the World most famous Zen gardens, the Zen rock garden of the Ryoanji Temple (Temple of the Peaceful Dragon) in Kyoto revealed that the calming effect is due to subliminal messages created by the arrangement of rocks and gravel. If they would have also asked the gardeners maintaining the beauty of that place, they would have learned that – as known to many practicing Zen – that maintaining or arranging such a garden has a calming effect of its own.

While you might not be able to feel the gravel passing through the teeth of your rake within one of these old gardens, you could create yourself a miniature version of a Zen rock garden and enjoy peace and quietness that way.

There are ready made miniature Zen garden sets available, but we put together a few links demonstrating how to create one yourself with parts you might already have lying around or can find outdoors when going for a walk. Below we have also included a list of videos and images of Zen gardens that might inspire your creativity further.

The guides and instructions are demonstrating two basic ways to create your garden. (1) from an old picture frame or (2) with a bowl, big ashtray or other container:

Click on the image below for the link (multimedia)

How to Make a Zen Garden on a Budget

link to YouTube video

Step-by-Step guide (wikiHow)

link to wikiHow page

Step-by-Step guide (instructables)

link to instructables page

More information:
Japanese rock garden at Wikipedia
How to make a Zen Garden Rake

Music and impressions for relaxing with your new Zen Garden:
Japanese Meditation music and impressions of Zen Gardens
More music and impressions of flowers and Zen Gardens
Impressions and sounds for Relaxation (first video of a series)

Ready made Zen garden sets:
Zen Garden (SA) (includes additional information on creating miniature Zen gardens)

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