What is Mini Zen Garden?

Zen garden, also known as Japanese rock garden, was created to stimulate meditation. Zen garden is a place where people can relax and find their inner peace in soothing and beautiful environment. Often when people visit a zen garden, they try to seek the true meaning of life and find the balance between hectic everyday life and peaceful relaxing.

Zen GardenJapanese zen garden

Usually, not many people have the opportunity to visit a real zen garden. Therefore, a mini zen garden, also called a desktop zen garden, was invented. Simply, it is a mini version of a zen garden, which you can put on your desk. It is supposed to be a calming decoration and an easy meditation piece.

Read our article on Best Mini Zen Garden Kits

Zen gardens are usually composed of three features which each have a symbolic meaning. These three features are gravel, sand and rocks. However, they can also include different accessories such as small statues, plants or bushes.

What makes mini zen garden so unique, is that each of the elements and actions have different symbolic meanings.

Sand and Gravel

Sand and gravel represent water. Gravel is usually used in real zen gardens because it is less disturbed by rain and wind. However, in mini zen garden, sand is rather used as it is easier to create beautiful patterns with rake and fine sand.


Raking the sand has both aesthetic function and meditative function. The act of raking represents waves or rippling water. Raking is a great way to practice concentration, making it a soothing meditative experience. Beautiful and creative patterns bring joy into a busy life.

Rocks and stones

Stones and rocks can have multiple meanings. Different miniature elements are often used to represent mountains, islands and other natural elements and scenes. In other words, stones and rocks can have every meaning you desire. Stone arrangements usually symbolize for example mountains or waterfalls. One single stone can have a meaning of a boat or an animal.

Mini Zen Garden

Benefits of Mini Zen Garden

For centuries ancient gurus have practiced meditation and concentration in zen gardens. Unfortunately, nowadays we don’t always have the change to visit real zen gardens on daily basis. Luckily you can get the benefits of zen garden with a miniature version on your desktop. Here are the top 5 benefits of mini zen garden and why you should have one.

1. Mini zen garden relieves stress effectively

Raking and placing beautiful elements onto the sand can be very soothing. The most valuable benefit of mini zen garden is stress relieve. Repetitive movements and concentrating put you in a meditative state and make you forget about the world around you. And what’s the best, you can do this at your office in the middle of the busy and stressful day! You don’t need to worry about keeping the zen garden alive or worry about watering it, because it doesn’t need any maintenance. All you need is a proper kit and a hint of creativity. There is no wrong way to use your mini zen garden, you get the benefits of stress and anxiety relieve by using it daily, or just a few times a week or a month. You just need to put your mind to it.

2. Desktop zen garden practices concentration and meditation skills

Mini zen garden is very helpful tool to practice meditation. Meditation can be difficult in the beginning and it’s hard to fully empty your mind. Mini zen garden helps you to achieve a peaceful mind with no interruptions. While raking, you can practice mindful breathing and try to empty your mind of conscious thoughts. Don’t get anxious when thoughts arise, just recognize them and let them slowly float away. In no time, you notice that your mind quiets on its own.

3. Stimulates creativity

Mini zen garden helps you to practice mindfulness which is often considered to enhance creativity. Meditation and mindfulness triggers to innovative thinking and helps new ideas to grow. Also, when you learn to block disruptive thoughts out or your mind, it leaves room for creativity. In addition, mini zen gardens can be very creative piece of arts itself, as they often can be decorated with different accessories and elements – such as funny pandas or artsy like bridges. Only your creativity is your limit.

4. Increase your discipline and focus with mini zen garden

Building a creative mini zen garden with different objects can be very precise and pedantic activity. Raking itself can also be quite tricky, because the sand is so soft. Therefore, it’s hard to make straight or even lines. All of these activities increase discipline and dedication. A mini zen garden on your desktop is a constant reminder to stay concentrated, dedicated and focused in every other part of your life.

5. Mini zen garden brings a positive flow into your home or office and it makes a beautiful décor

Mini zen gardens have so many different variations, so you can create one for your taste. It can represent simplicity and minimalism just having the necessity items such sand, rake and stone. It can also be built with plants, crystals, whimsical figures or other beautiful or peaceful items. Whatever your mini zen garden looks, it makes a beautiful décor that represents you and your personality and the things you want to achieve in your life.

How to use mini zen garden

There are no right or wrong how to use mini zen garden. However, all you need is a box, fine sand, rake and stone. Set up the mini zen garden as you wish. Use your creativity with the elements and accessories. Think what the stone would represent and choose your favourite plants and accessories. Try different designs to see what elements please you the most. Choose a perfect place for using the mini zen garden. You can lay on your bed or just sit before your desk. Let your creativity to flow and try to empty your mind.

Make soothing sand patterns with the rake. Sand raked into a different pattern, such as round, spiral or rippled, represents the water. Don’t be too judgmental. If the pattern goes wrong, just wipe thee sand and make a new pattern. It’s simple as that. The most important thing is to focus and put your mind into the meditative state. Using a mini zen garden can really help you to relax, overcome anxiety, practice concentration and improve your meditation skills, not to mention enhance your creativity.

History of Zen Garden

Origins of zen gardens are from Asia, precisely from Japan. They have existed for nearly 3000 years in amongst zen monks and Buddhists in places like monasteries, temples and gardens. They have become more popular in private homes and public gardens throughout Asia. More recently zen gardens are a common sight in Western world. Rock gardens got their inspiration from Chinese mythology from places where immortal beings lived. These ancient places were in the mountains and rivers. That’s why large stones and gravel symbolize these sacred places.

Zen gardens spread to Japanese palaces around 1000 B.C. When the Zen Buddhism rose, the zen gardens became more popular in temples and homes. They were important places for meditating and relaxing. Zen gardens emphasize the principles of naturalness (Shizen), simplicity (Kanso), and austerity (koko). Zen Buddhists created zen gardens to imitate the essence of the natural world and cultivate insights on the significance of life. They also began using the gardens to teach zen principles and concepts. Over the years the design and structure of the zen gardens have been refined, but the basic structure remains the same. Zen gardens are still very common sight in Japan and thin recent years they have spread around the world. Zen gardens are available in miniature version for home or desk. These beautiful décor and art pieces are called mini zen garden.