“Zenscape” an Immersive Garden Experience

Project Title: “Zenscape” (Zen Garden + Escape from Stress)

Names of group members: Kelly Xu, Zhino Yousefi, and Siyu Sun


Project Description:

As the world moves faster around us, and our lives are forced to become fast-paced to keep up. Our group wanted to remind everyone to slow down and spend some time with themselves. We wanted to create a calming immersive project that users can experience and adapt as part of their self-care ritual in their own homes.

Zen gardens are a way of life that is associated with stress reduction. It’s meant to evoke feelings of tranquility, calmness, and peace. It has also been scientifically proven to have psychological health benefits. With stress-reducing in mind, our group wanted to make a Zen Garden our intangible surface. Zen gardens use rocks, gravel, or sand to recreate the essence of nature, and help people become more in tune with themselves. However, not everyone knows how to reflect methodically, so we will introduce videos as an immersive way to show how quietly arranging the rocks, sand, and shrubbery can help us become one with nature.


For our project, we recreated a physical Zen Garden that can be displayed on a tabletop. We added different sensors to various parts of the Garden that users can interact with, which picks up user interaction and displays nature videos, images, and music correspondingly. The nature media are specifically chosen to enlighten and bring meaning to the action that the user executes.

The Final Experience: 



rock_pressure shrubbery_joystick


Experience video:


(Please watch with the sound on for the latter half of the video!)

How it works video:


The Development Process:






Link to the Arduino and Processing code hosted on GitHub:


Circuit diagram:


The Media We Used: 

Music (for when user is interacting with the sand): “Dream a Dream” by Sayuri Hayashi Egnell

Default Video (for when the user is not interacting): https://clipchamp.com/watch/lD36mBTKsVv

Panoramic Image (for when the user is interacting with the joystick): https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-showing-gray-stone-mountain-746421/

Beach Video (for when the user is interacting with the stone): https://www.pexels.com/video/a-person-standing-in-the-beach-shore-5927717/

River Video (for when the user is interacting with the bridge’s gate): https://www.pexels.com/video/close-up-shot-of-a-body-of-water-5207716/



“News: US News, Top News in India, US Election News, Business News, Sports & International News: Times of India.” Why Do You Need a Zen Garden?, Gunjan Verma, 24 Aug. 2016, 16:23 IST, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/home-garden/why-do-you-need-a-zen-garden/articleshow/53841680.cms.

“Free Stock Videos · Pexels Videos.” A Person Standing In The Beach Shore, Christopher Schultz, 19 Nov. 2020, https://www.pexels.com/video/a-person-standing-in-the-beach-shore-5927717/.

“Epidemic Sound.” Dream a Dream, Sayuri Hayashi Egnell, 5 Nov. 2021, https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/E6Qg3BmgeX/.

“Free Stock Videos · Pexels Videos.” Water Surface, Joe Lattanzio, 28 Aug. 2020, https://www.pexels.com/video/water-surface-5213554/.

“Pexels – Free Stock Photos.” Person Showing Gray Stone Mountain, Mali Maeder, 12 Apr. 2015, https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-showing-gray-stone-mountain-746421/.