Indoor rock gardens are a simple way to add a bit of Zen to your home or office. For $20 in materials and 30 minutes of your time, you can create a unique piece of décor for any table, countertop or desk—a mini-rock garden is a fun, easy way to get your creative juices flowing.
The basic set up is extremely simple. Find a shallow container about the size of a baking dish—it could be wood, ceramic or any other material, but it should be something you find beautiful on its own—and fill it with an arrangement of sand, pebbles, tiny plants and other natural objects. If you want to go 100 percent Zen, create a base of sand, place a few pebbles of various shapes and sizes on one end in a tidy, but random arrangement and call it done. Kits are available that supply the materials you'll need as well as tiny rakes for making patterns in the sand, just like a full scale Japanese sand garden.
If that's not your style, select from some of the other common rock garden elements to create a centerpiece that suits your taste. You can add tiny plants, such as succulents, but in that case use lightweight potting mix in the container and spread a layer of sand or tiny pebbles on top. Sand and pebbles come in many colors, which can be used strategically like a painter's palette. For a beachy theme, add things like bits of colored beach glass, smooth slivers of driftwood and shells. For a forest feel, decorate with mini-pinecones, colored lichens and mosses and use a tiny lava rock boulder on one end with an air plant resting next to it as an accent. You can also incorporate tiny figurines and trinkets for what is often referred to as a fairy garden. There is no limit to your creativity, but the simplicity of the art form, as well as its teeny-weeny scale, ensure that it won't strain your bank account or take too much of your precious time.