hat’s commonly called a Zen garden in the West is actually a Japanese dry garden, with little historical connection to Zen Buddhism. The form typically consists of sparse, carefully positioned stones in a meticulously raked bed of coarse sand or fine gravel. Japanese dry gardens can be immensely satisfying. Proponents find the uncluttered space calming and the act of raking out waterlike ripples in the gravel soothing and perhaps even healing. The fact that they are low maintenance and drought resistant is another advantage.
Site your garden on flat or barely sloped ground away from messy trees and shrubs (and cats), as gravel and sand are eventually spoiled by the accumulation of organic matter. There are many materials you can use as the rakable medium for the garden. Generally, lighter-colored, very coarse sand is preferred—it needs to be small enough to be raked into rills yet large enough that the rake lines don’t
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A Zen garden is a small rock garden, typically featuring a few large specimen stones inset into a bed of gravel. It gets its name from the meditative benefits of raking the gravel.