Have you seen a Zen garden you like and want to craft your own? Perhaps you have one already and you need tips on how to personalize it. Creating one can lower stress, focus better and encourage feelings of well-being.
Zen Buddhist monks built the first Zen garden in the sixth century to help with meditating. Soon, they started using the gardens to teach the principles and concepts of Zen. Although they have refined the design and structure of Zen gardens over the years, the basic structure is the same. So, keep reading to find out more about Japanese Zen gardens so you can enjoy the advantages they offer.
Find a Zen Garden Tray for Your Sand
Start with a tray that is at least two or three inches deep. You can use a tray you have on hand or build your own out of plywood. You can even reuse a storage container lid or a bowl. Just make sure the tray is seamless.
Choose a style sturdy enough to hold several pounds of decorative sand. Store your tray on a flat, hard and sturdy surface. Also, make sure the tray has proper balance and support before adding the heavy sand. Fill the tray with decorative sand and rake it to spread the sand evenly.
Once your tray is full of sand, the weight will increase significantly. For best results, be sure to place your Zen garden on a clear and sturdy surface. Keep in mind the weight of sand when designing your garden. Be sure not to choose a tray that is too large or too heavy for the space you wish to fill.
How to Decorate Your Zen Garden
Place garden objects throughout the tray. Objects common in Zen gardens include stones, crystals, wood, candles and potted succulents. Remember, it is important not to overcrowd your garden landscape with too many objects. So, be selective and minimal to follow the Zen tradition.
The next step is to rake to your sand. Experiment with alternative materials to rake designs into your sand garden. Use differently sized rakes, make your own tools or even use your fingers. Be creative and expressive with various textures and thickness of lines.
Protect and Maintain Your Zen Garden
Make it a weekly or monthly ritual to cleanse your Zen garden with sage-smudging. Tend to your Zen garden by switching out the objects frequently and by raking sand daily.
If you feel spiritual, meditate or pray as you draw in your garden. Set an intention for well-being as you rake the sands. Let the slow steady dragging of the rake focus your mind, steady your hands, and release the vibrations from inside your soul.
If you have trouble raking over your design from yesterday, don’t worry. It’s common to want to hold on to the past. Let the Zen garden teach you how to truly let go. One of the great lessons it has to offer is how to embrace the present while building on the past.
You can look for materials in retail stores, gift shops and online. For more unique pieces, go to flea markets, yard sales and antique shops. Your Zen garden is a reflection of who you are and your dreams, so have fun and be creative.