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free plans: how to make a
Miniature Dry Garden
Basic Description Here is a free plan for a miniature version of the traditional dry rock garden. These gardens have been perfected over the centuries as centers of quiet reflection. In keeping with the simple elegance of these gardens, we show you how to make the entire project, including the rake, out of a single piece of wood. These make perfect gifts or stress-relieving aids.

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Using your dry garden


To set up your garden simply pour some sand into the cavity. You can smooth it out with the backside of the rake, but we had better luck gently shaking the frame back and forth. Next rake the sand with straight or undulating patterns. Traditional Japanese dry gardens aim to recreate the movements of the surface of water with these patterns. Finally place some rocks in an interesting orientation. These can be used to symbolize islands in the sea or in a flowing river. You can create more grooves with the rake around these rocks symbolizing ripples.
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If you give this project away as a gift, it's probably best if you package the sand in a glass jar or similar container. Trying to package or wrap the garden with the sand in place would inevitably lead to complications.
completed miniature dry garden

Design Considerations


The size of the garden is not critical. If you have a very small garden you will probably need to use extremely fine sand so that you will be able to create intricate rake patterns. The width of the rake should be proportional to the garden itself; if you make it too narrow, creating symmetrical patterns will be difficult and if you make it too wide, details will be difficult to create


We created a rectangular garden in line with many traditional dry gardens. Some gardens, however, utilize undulating and curvaceous shapes. If you do use a curvaceous router pattern, make sure that the router base (usually 6" (15cm) in diameter) will be able to follow the curves that you create. Also, you may want to rout out the cavity first, and then cut the perimeter with a bandsaw thereafter. This would be an easy way to have an equally sized frame around the entire garden.
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Other ideas

You can add some grass or moss as is often done in traditional gardens. You could experiment with other items as well. We created the garden out of one piece of wood, but it could be created out of various sticks as one might make an ordinary frame as we did in the wall mirror project. You could also create a garden using the technique that we describe in our shallow box project shown on the right.
you could make a dry garden using the technique used in our shallow box project

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