I was just eight years old when my grandma gifted me a small zen garden for my bedroom and I loved it from the second I saw it. From that moment on, I’ve always made it a point of keeping a mini zen garden on my desktop space. Whether it be at home, or in an actual office. There’s something so calming about raking patterns into the sand and I always look to my mini zen garden when my brain is feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. I’ve experimented with many zen garden ideas over the years and even once incorporated the non-mini version into large spaces in my own backyard! I’ve always found myself in my zen garden and I hope that these zen garden ideas, both big and small, will help you find your chi, too.
This is similar to the mini zen garden my grandmother first gifted to me! Small pebbles and a tiny rake perfect for patterns in the sand is just about all I need when my mind craves a break! This is perfect for beginners and those looking to experiment with the art of Zen gardening!
Ready to take it a step further? Upgrade your zen garden with more sand space and removable trees, bridges, and other artifacts. I used to love creating different design patterns with each piece! It’s so fun to experiment before taking your designs live in a real garden outside!
I love the idea of turning a courtyard into a zen garden! You’ll have a smaller space to work with, so make sure you plan out your features accordingly. For example, this homeowner managed to work in extra greenery (and a gorgeous Japanese bonsai) by creating a grass island nestled in the middle of their gravel. It’s the best of both worlds!
In another great use of extra backyard space, my neighbor turned her ugly sideyard into an area of complete backyard serenity! She installed bamboo paneling on her cinderblock fence and replaced all of the grass with gravel and lush garden beds. Though the gravel can’t be raked, the garden pathway is just as pleasing. Fill your plant beds with Conifers, Bamboo, Plantain Lillies, Evergreen trees, and even Peonies for zen finishing touches.
Image from Pinterest
Speaking of plants that look great in zen gardens, the Japanese maple tree is always a favorite amongst gardeners. Japanese maple trees do require quite a bit of pruning if grown in a small space but many find this is just another way to relax and enjoy their garden. Personally, I think the stunning red shade of the leaves is worth ALL the work in the world!
Wonderful Water Features
Flowing water is often thought to be soothing and only adds to the appeal of a zen garden. No matter the size of your space, see if you can’t work in a small water feature or two! It really does create such ambiance. Check out my list of Super Simple Garden Water Features here!