DIY- Desk Top Zen Garden

I have been wanting a Zen garden for a while now. AKA Japanese rock garden.

Zen gardens go way back to the sixth century when Monks created the first Zen gardens to aid in meditation. It was a place to go for peace and serenity. They would consist of a large area of sand in a setting that included rocks, small plants and rakes. Ripples in the sand represent the nature of water. Rocks are delicately placed to add energy.

Small Zen gardens are popular right now. Kits for these small gardens online can cost up to $100.00 depending on the quality of dish, sand and rock you choose. That's just crazy, so I decided to make my own for less than $9.00.

First I called my brother in law at the beach and asked him to bring some soft white sand when he comes to visit. When he arrived last week with a bucket of sand, I was excited. I mean, who else can have the beach delivered to them?

Next I ran out to the thrift store where I found a small shallow glass dish and an unwanted fake succulent to adopt.

I needed a rake so I visited an Etsy shop and purchased an authentic Art of Bali brand Zen rake. This was the most expensive part of my project costing a whopping $5.75.

I glued the plant to the bottom of the glass dish, poured in the sand and began to play. I think I spent a half hour playing with this thing once I got it all together. It's amazing how something so simple can add hours of soothing fun to your desktop or table.

Many people have resorted to small desk size Zen gardens as they reduce stress, improve focus and relaxation. Most Zen garden include a little buddha statue, but I prefer to stay away from that. Meditation? Na, My meditation is in prayer.
I just like the way it looks. It adds some tranquility decor to my office. I do think it is relaxing. After all, I am fidgety. This may even keep me from all the doodling on paper that I do.

Glass dish- Goodwill -.99 cent.
Plastic Succulent- Goodwill $1.49.
Desktop Zen garden Rake- TheZenGardner $5.75.
Sand- Myrtle Beach, SC-  FREE +1 cup of coffee.

No way to get real sand? 
Visit your local dollar store where you can purchase a small bag of craft sand for only a dollar.


  1. You are so creative! This is so precious and inexpensive. Great job!

  2. So cute!!!! I love it and they kind of fascinate me. I may have to make one for my own desk! xo Diana

  3. I love this, very cute . My PT's office has one on the desk.
    Happy Monday!
    jess xx

  4. I'm going to make one!!

  5. What a cool project!! I need all the zen I can get at work - I will definitely make one of these asap! Have a great week!

  6. Oh that is such a cute idea. And easy!

  7. $100 that is a bit nuts. You know one time someone got me a box of rocks for my Birthday, literally. From a well known retailer. Haha. But this is great and so much better to a DIY like you did and save your money.

    Allie of

  8. Lisa it turned out so fantastic! Love the real sand and the added touches. Makes for a perfect Zen Garden especially during these winter months when the blues tend to sneak their way in. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. I love it, it is too cute! I miss the corporate world sometimes, but on the days when I don't feel like sitting in 2 hour rush hour traffic, I'm glad I can stay in my PJs and work from home! Have a great one! Hugs!

  10. I got more relaxed just looking at your Zen Garden. I have one on my desk that I've had for 20 years. I have tiny sea shells in mine.

  11. I wouldn't want a Buddha either. Perhaps some gnomes...

    Speaking of meditation, my son had to take religious studies in college and part of the class was learning how to meditate. He called me to see if meditating was sacrilegious. I told him to swap the word meditation with prayer, Buddha for Jesus, and he was good to go.

  12. The creative one.... They are definitely neat, and I am sure I could spend a lot ofd time just playing in the sand.
    Speaking of from the beach. I had a friend ask me to bring him 5 gals of sea water once. I did. He drank 6 oz every Friday.???? Said his mama did and lived to be 93.

    BEach sand is definitely 'siftier' (LOL must be a word) and feels better than sand we use in mortar.
    Love from a ancient lap top where I just found my pass words. alol

  13. That's a great idea. I bet it brightens up your whole desk!

  14. That is totally adorable and I love that it was only $9.00!

  15. So cute. I am making one for me and one for a friend.