CSS Zen Garden
The CSS Zen Garden is a World Wide Web development resource. The goal of the site is to showcase what is possible with CSS-based design. CSS allows complete and total control over the style of a hypertext document. The only way this can be illustrated in a way that gets people excited is by demonstrating what it can truly be, once the reins are placed in the hands of those able to create beauty from structure. Designers and coders alike have contributed to the beauty of the web; we can always push it further.
Style sheets contributed by graphic designers from around the world are used to change the visual presentation of a single HTML file, producing hundreds of different designs. Aside from reference to an external CSS file, the HTML markup itself never changes. All visual differences are the result of the CSS (and supporting imagery). The site has been translated into multiple languages.
When it launched in May 2003, it contained only five designs.
In February 2005, The Zen of CSS Design (Peachpit Press) was published by CSS Zen Garden creator Dave Shea and web designer Molly Holzschlag. The book is based on 36 designs featured at the Zen Garden site.
CSS Zen Garden has inspired similar sites in other languages.
“The Garden” itself was inspired, according to Shea, by an experiment by Chris Casciano called “Daily CSS Fun,” and a CSS-related contest from HotBot.