Make Your Own Zen Garden

Create your own Zen garden as a private place for you to enjoy peaceful moments.

By Megan Arquette

Finding a space or moment of tranquillity in our busy lives can be difficult at times. Some of us naturally pick up a pen and doodle to take our minds to a peaceful place, while some do desk yoga. The next time that stressful phone meeting happens or you need some time to yourself, take a moment to find peace and tend to a homemade Zen garden.

The Eastern tradition of Zen gardening has been a natural resource of meditation for centuries. The raking practice is based on using symbols of nature such as water, rocks and moss to imitate the true essences of life.

The elements and motions are used to take your mind off day-to-day worries, and the calming effect comes from arranging the elements and raking lines to resemble water ripples. The cleanliness of design and placement of the elements is essential to creating the balance of yin and yang.

While traditionally found outside of monasteries, it’s easy to create a desk-sized version out of simple items you can find around the home and yard.

Sand (natural or coloured)
A small, shallow dish
Small rocks
Fork, small paintbrush or twig

(If using a fork, bend the tines to create a small rake.)


  1. Pour the sand in the dish of your choice.
  2. Arrange rocks, moss, animals or seashells to your liking.
  3. Begin creating the “water” by drawing your paintbrush, twig or fork in long, slow sweeping movements around the dish and the garden items.
  4. Breathe in and out to promote calmness.

It isn’t getting out of the office, sure, but what’s better than achieving tranquillity at your own desk?


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