How to create a zen garden at home

How to create a zen garden at home

The zen garden style in particular, while mineral and minimalist, is attracting more and more followers. Perfectly paired with a designer-style residence or, as a surprise, in an area of a more classic garden, it will always work! Here are our tips for creating your zen garden.

What is a zen garden?

A Zen garden should not be confused with a Japanese garden, much more vegetation and including a body of water. A Zen garden, inspired by the tradition of the same name, wants to be minimalist, very mineral and small.

It is not a garden for walking, but for contemplation ; we do not cross the zen garden, we observe it quietly set on a bench or in a bay window, like a gem preserved behind a glass cage.

This type of garden, usually rectangular, is reduced to its simplest expression and consists of a rock, arranged according to precise symbolism, and an artfully carved sand rake to create the memorable movements of water waves.

How to create a zen garden?

Choosing a location.

As you’ve learned, a Zen garden should lead to meditation, reflection and inner peace, so it should be contemplated serenely. Choose your location wisely! It would be ideal in a glazed patio or connecting two blocks of a modern home, but it can also integrate in a more classic garden tucked away in a bamboo alcove for example. Then it will create a surprise and invite a long-awaited moment of inner peace.


  • Start by clearing the future garden spot by removing all weeds and plants in place;
  • Make the soil straight throughout the selected area with a roller;
  • Place geotextile felt on the ground, allowing it to extend about twenty centimeters on each side; this will prevent unwanted weeds from growing.
  • Delimit the space dedicated to your zen garden with exotic wooden beams, railroad ties, large pebbles or slates planted vertically. You will use these elements to keep the geotextile in place.
  • Place stones trying to set some vertically and others horizontally to break up the monotony and create a natural landscape. Group them by 3, 5 or 7 and try to respect the symbolism of the cosmos surrounded by the nine sacred mountains often mentioned in the Zen garden.
  • You can, if you like, plant in the center of the garden, next to some rocks, a fern, Japanese maple or bamboo, if you really want to bring a vegetal touch. It would be best to place the plant in a glazed pot to avoid drilling the geotextile; Another solution is to place the moss on the rocks, but your garden must be located in a moist and shaded area for it to last.
  • Then pour a thick layer of medium-grained sand or white gravel over the entire area;
  • Have a rake-put yourself at an angle and tilt the ground toward you so you don’t mark it with your footsteps;
  • Form waves around rocks and straight lines everywhere to create movement. You can also play on the thickness and draw little “hills” with sand, especially if you choose the option of complete minimalism, that is, a garden with no rocks and no plants.

How do you maintain a zen garden?

The hardest part of maintaining this type of garden is cleaning up the dead leaves on the sand or gravel. A Zen garden requires a weekly rake-pass to keep its beautiful mineral aspect. Beware of wet leaves that can leave tannin marks on the gravel, remove them as soon as possible! Then you leave the center and pull the rake toward you to cover your footprints. Don’t forget to form waves that break up the linear areas to make them even more attractive.

If you have introduced one or more plants, don’t forget the size operations necessary for perfect mastery of the forms, In summer, you should also not neglect watering: a watering can in one hand and a rake in the other to redraw the ground decor!

zen garden

Origins of the Zen Garden

The Zen garden originated with Zen Buddhist monks in the 14th century. They then composed this type of mineral garden in a temple. It was dedicated to meditation and was basically against ostentatious gardens. Circulation becomes impossible and the landscape is minimized in the form of “Karesansui,” that is, a dry and mineral landscape. The vision of the garden must be global and superior in order to follow one of the precepts of Zen philosophy.