Believe it or not, there are a few different ways to fill up your desktop zen garden, all of which are worthy in their own right.
The first is to buy the finest sand you can, as there is a direct correlation between ease of raking and finer sand. Simply put, if you want nice, clean lines when you rake, buy the finest sand you can. I hear pet stores are good places to buy fine sand, as a lot of reptiles (supposedly) enjoy a bed of fine sand.
The second option is to buy the prettiest sand you can, if you prefer your zen garden be more decorative than meditative. Amazon (as well as most craft stores) sells really beautiful colored sand, and if you’re the type of person to want a pastel sand garden, definitely go for this option.
The third option is to get the most sentimental and authentic sand you can. This is the option I chose, as some of my favorite memories come from my favorite lake, and I just so happen to have a jar of sand from its beach. In my opinion, this is the best option to beat the onslaught of boring or tough workdays, because the sand from your favorite beach can be a very pleasant way to trigger your happiest memories. It makes the whole sand garden feel that much more meaningful, and I also believe it can help bring nostalgic undertones to the meditative practice. Of course, the downside of ‘real world’ sand is that it is much harder to get fine lines, but I find you’re still able to rake successfully without too much difficulty.
Wow, who knew selecting a sand could be so difficult? Regardless of which option you chose, your zen garden will look great and serve its purpose wonderfully, so don’t stress too much over picking the right sand (besides, stressing is antithetical to the purpose of the zen garden!)
And as far as filling it goes, it’s relatively straightforward to slowly fill it with a spoon. That being said, a mess is inevitable, but some damp paper towels pick up the spilt sand in no time!