The Japanese rock gardens (枯山水 karesansui?) or “dry landscape” gardens, often called “Zen gardens“, were influenced mainly by Zen Buddhism and can be found at Zen temples of meditation. Their simplicity and beauty has attracted me for quite some time, however, living in New York City- I don’t necessarily have the space for a large outdoor garden like this:

With my lack of outdoor space, I decided to create something smaller.

A few years ago, I was in North Carolina with my father when we found a bunch of really smooth rocks on the beach. They were small, most no bigger than a quarter. I liked them a lot; they were so smooth and nice to just hold and rub. However, I didn’t really know what I could do with them, aside from just touching and looking at them. Then I realized that I could sift some sand, bag it and keep it, along with my rocks to create a zen garden. Next we created a shallow box out of wood, approximately 16″x 16″x 2″. I traveled back to New York with my garden in pieces, (while thinking about where I could get a miniature rake). I found a metal back-scratcher that would do the trick, and assembled the whole thing on my kitchen table. Not 2 minutes later, my cats discovered the box.. flicking the rocks and sand out with their paws. It became such a problem that I put it all back in bags and put it in the closet… Years passed until I finally bought a piece of acrylic for the top. Yesterday (as I awaited hurricane Irene indoors), I painted the box white and re-assembled. Here it is: