Create a Zen Garden

Here’s how to make a Zen garden and cultivate mindfulness.

Surprisingly, multi-tasking can actually be an excellent way to de-stress, at least when the tasks you're accomplishing are gardening and finding your Zen. As you dig and snip and water your Zen garden, you become more focused and mindful, more present in the moment. While you use your hands, go ahead and practice your meditation, too. You?ll be growing something beautiful while feeding your soul at the same time.

Here's how to make a Zen garden and cultivate mindfulness.

Materials needed:

- Shallow container (at least 2 inches deep)

- Garden gloves

Miracle-Gro® Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix

- Several cacti and succulent plants

- Spoon

- Watering can

- River rocks

- Sand (available at craft and hobby stores, garden centers, or online)

Miracle-Gro® Succulent Plant Food

- Miniature rake (or small bamboo back scratcher, chopstick, or wooden comb)


1. Choose a shallow container made from any material. If it doesn’t have drainage holes, protect your eyes with goggles and drill a few in the bottom.Use a masonry bit for unglazed terra cotta and ceramics, and a glass or tile bit for harder, glazed materials.

2. Put on your gardening gloves. Now you’re ready to fill your container with Miracle-Gro® Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix. This specially formulated mix drains quickly, so the roots of drought-tolerant plants don’t rot due to soggy soil. Put the potting mix on one side of your container, leaving room on the other side for the sand.

3. Use the river rocks to build a miniature "wall" to hold the potting mix in place.

4. Fill the rest of the container with sand, and level it with your hands, an old credit card, or the edge of a piece of cardboard.

5. Gently slide the cacti and succulents out of their nursery pots and loosen their roots. Make holes in the potting mix, drop in the plants, and backfill around them, gently tamping down the soil. Lightly water plants. 

6. Traditional Zen gardens are simple, but you can add whatever you like to the sand part, such as a miniature figurine or some larger stones. 

7. Place your Zen garden in a sunny, draft-free window facing south or west (though east can also work) and water once or twice a month. If it will sit on a surface that could be damaged by water, put a tray or saucer under it to catch drips. 

8. A month after planting, feed plants with Miracle-Gro® Succulent Plant Food, according to label directions. Pay special attention to the size of your container. 

9. Whenever you need to de-stress and find your Zen, spend some time with your garden, raking the sand and enjoying the beauty of your creation.