How to Make a Zen Garden for Your Desk

A Zen garden is by definition a peaceful place. It is a piece of artwork that can also be reduced to a small size for keeping inside the house, such as on the desk, and this article explains how to make your own.


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    Obtain the items needed. These are: a shoebox lid, sand or soil, water, a small container to hold the water (a small tea light candle holder is a good choice), pebbles or small rocks, a bridge, fake or real moss, a comb or mini rake, and any additional items you'd like to add, just remembering that simplicity is important for a Zen garden.
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    Take the shoebox lid and the sand. If you're going to keep this Zen garden for a while, lay out clear wrap under the sand.
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    Pour the sand into the shoebox lid and level it out so that it is even across the shoebox lid.
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    Place the rock in the sand, wherever you'd like it to sit. A traditional Zen garden would have the rocks placed in the corners.
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    Add the moss and anything else that you have to put in your Zen garden.
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    Use the mini rake or comb to make patterns in the sand.
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    Put the water container on the sand and add the water. If you would like, put the bridge over the water.
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    Display the Zen garden on your desk. Use it to ponder life's mysteries and to keep yourself calm.


  • If you want a more permanent Zen garden, use a rectangular dish or plant container saucer for the base instead of a shoebox lid.
  • Have fun with it and make it how you find peacefulness.
  • When you use the rake, use swift motions to make a peaceful movement.
  • The waves you make in the sand with a rake are meant to take the place of water in the zen garden. Adding literal water to a zen garden in sort of missing the point of creating an abstract landscape meant for meditation.
  • If you do not have a bridge, you can make one out of clay, crayons, paper, toothpicks, etc.


  • Real water may attract curious cats if you have cats.
  • Using real moss could be a problem if it turns moldy. Remove it if it does.

Things You'll Need

  • A shoebox lid
  • Sand or soil (chinchilla sand works well)
  • Water
  • A small container to hold the water (a small tea light candle holder is a good choice)
  • Pebbles or small rocks
  • A bridge
  • Fake or real moss
  • A comb or mini rake
  • Any additional items but keep it simple

Article Info

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