How to Make a DIY Zen Garden

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Ellen Christian

This DIY Zen Garden is a relaxing way to unwind at the end of the day for both adults and kids. Learn how to make a mini Zen garden with a rake.

Posts may be sponsored. This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

DIY Zen Garden for Bedtime Relaxation

DIY Zen Garden for Bedtime Relaxation

With teens (and adults) who are hooked on social media, it’s tempting to keep putting off bedtime by listening to one more song, answering one more email, or watching one more movie. Those behaviors make it difficult for your body to relax and fall asleep. 

A zen garden is a small representation of nature. Instead of lakes, rivers, and ponds, it offers open spaces, sand, rocks, and sometimes tiny manicured trees. The sand is usually raked or styled in some way to represent the ocean waves or ripples in the brook. You may have heard a zen garden also referred to as a Japanese rock garden.

To use this DIY zen garden for bedtime relaxation, just remove the elements, style your sand, and create a peaceful landscape to signify to your body that it’s time to relax. This relaxation technique can be helpful for older children and teenagers who are too old for lavender scented playdough or “monster spray” as part of their bedtime routine.

If you are wondering about a make your own zen garden kit, this one has everything that you need.  If you’re wondering how to make a miniature zen garden yourself, keep reading. And, if you want to make a mini zen garden rake, it’s probably easier to buy them. This kit has 9 different rakes to choose from.

DIY Zen Garden for Bedtime Relaxation

How do you make a homemade zen garden

If you’re looking for DIY zen garden ideas, you can use my craft as a basis for your own. The beauty of making one of these is that you can change what you use. So, if you’re wonderingg how to make a zen garden on a budget, just substitute what you have on hand or what you can buy affordably.

  • Shallow glass, wooden, or metal bowl or tray
  • Fine sand
  • Small flat rocks, bonsai tree, cactus in a little pot, seashell, etc.
  • Mini zen garden rake to style the sand

How to Make a DIY Zen Garden for Bedtime Relaxation


  • Add a very thin layer of sand to the tray. Do not make it so thick the designs won’t stay in the sand.
  • Arrange a few rocks or decorations. Don’t make it too busy. The designs in the sand should be the most prominent part of a zen garden.
  • Use the twig or rake to create swirls and waves in the sand. This process should be relaxing so don’t get hung up on what it looks like. Just create.

DIY Zen Garden for Bedtime Relaxation

Zen garden tips

You can use whatever you like for accents in this DIY zen garden. I chose a few polished stones: turquoise, rose quartz, and fuchsite. If you believe that certain stones have healing properties, turquoise is often used for protection. Rose quartz is supposed to help restore your self-esteem and self-confidence.  Fuschite is known as a healer’s stone. The little coin I got years ago at a Renaissance fair.

Place the stones or accessories and then using a toothpick or one of those little Zen garden rakes, style your sand. Do not get hung up on perfection. It should be relaxing. It’s OK to make a mistake. Just take out the stones and shake the sand slightly to smooth it out and start over.

How to Make a DIY Zen Garden for Bedtime Relaxation

What kind of sand do you use in a zen garden?

Because this is a small DIY zen garden, you should use fine craft sand. That way, when you use the rake, you can get pretty designs to show up. Larger pebbles or gravel won’t do that. 

Tips for kids

Kids can be master manipulators when it comes to bedtime. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine can help them unwind and relax before bed. When my son was little, I remember having to spend 15 to 20 minutes searching for the “bug” that he insisted he heard in his room before he would settle down.

 If you have a child who tries to manipulate their bedtime, allow them one more television program and then transition them into their bedtime routine including this DIY zen garden.

DIY Zen Garden for Bedtime Relaxation

More ways to relax

12 thoughts on “How to Make a DIY Zen Garden”

  1. I love this. I just moved cities, started a new job, and with decorating the new place I know a perfect spot for it. You are very encouraging and thoughtful with your ideas! Thank you. It will be a fun and nice looking addition for sure. :)
    • Definitely don't want the kitty getting into it. I have mine on a shelf when I'm not using it and so far my cats haven't found it.

Leave a Comment