Zenith of Zen: 13 Nontraditional Takes on Japanese Gardens

Relaxing River Rock Zen Garden

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This interpretation of the classic zen garden by Zeterre combines traditional elements with modern additions, placing an undulating sand garden in the center of a flowing path made of river rocks

Monochromatic Zen Garden by Sam Songailo
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What does a zen garden look like when viewed through the lens of urban built environments like shopping malls? The basic aesthetic is still present, but the nature is lost, reinterpreting the garden solely as a visual experience. This graphic black-and-white installation by Sam Songailo is described by the artist as “more of a dystopia than a place of meditation.”

Massive Sand Drawings by Jim Deneven
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Though not necessarily working around rocks, Jim Deneven takes the zen sand garden tradition to the largest possible scale by dragging his rakes along the sand right on California’s beaches. The resulting drawings can span miles across, and often begin to disappear in the tides before he can even finish them.

Zen Garden-Style Living Room Atrium
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The tranquil qualities of a zen garden are put to use in a modern living room at this Japanese residence by ALTS Design Office. The two-story open atrium is filled with carefully placed greenery, rocks and stepping stones to capture the feeling of a garden in an indoor space.