A Zen garden is a dry Japanese garden composed of sand and rocks. Miniature ones can live on your desk or on a windowsill, where you can rearrange the stones or mini bonsai trees and rake through the fine sand to your heart’s content. Here are the ones we’re shopping for.
The ripples or swirls caused by raking the sand in Zen gardens are meant to represent water. This is called samon. As a calming exercise, you can create your own designs in the sand using miniature bamboo rakes that come in each kit.
You can also rearrange the small rocks in Zen gardens to make custom patterns, or follow classical patterns, in which the stones represent waterfalls, mountains or boats journeying on the river of life.
A Zen garden is meant to be a meditative experience—so look for one with a variety of rakes or stones to comb through when your mind is running a million miles an hour. You can always add your own accessories for more variety.