Japanese Garden Design

garden design dry waterDry water is very common in Japanese gardens, and it is very eye catching too. Wait a minute, I can hear you questioning the term ‘dry water’- it’s a contradiction in terms isn’t it? Well, YES and NO! And it’s the NO part I am going to concentrate on in this small article. But let me clarify the rules of water sources and features in these specific types of gardens.

Water sources in these types of gardens should appear as natural as possible and blend in with the surroundings. Fountains do not exists in Japanese gardens, waterfalls yes, but fountains no. They are man made and not ‘natural’ in appearance. Don’t get me wrong I am not ‘fountainist’ it’s just with Japanese gardens there are certain rules that have to be observed. If you really wanted a fountain in a Japanese garden, it’s not a heinous crime but your garden would not be wholly authentic!

Streams- nearly always man-made are a big part of Japanese gardening, they often are built with curves giving them a more natural appearance. The positioning of lanterns is more often than not by streams or ponds within a garden. This represents the female and the male elements of ‘water’ and ‘fire’.

garden design dry waterThis concept is known in Japanese tradition as YIN and YANG. Any stream in a Japanese garden will have deliberate imperfections designed into it, so as to give the ‘water’ a ‘natural’ look and an organic feel. The shapes of ponds must also look natural for this reason as well.

Water is never placed in the centre of the garden- particularly ponds. these will often have larger stones within them to simulate islands. Sometimes it is common for them to have a smallish waterfall. The use of stones is always very structural and symmetrical. This also applies to the all varieties of oriental gardens.

OK, that’s the wet stuff out of the way. Let’s move onto the concept and usage of ‘Dry Water’ in Zen gardens. In Zen gardens it is fairly straight forward- sand is used to replicate water and this makes smaller landscape reproductions far easier. A Zen garden will more often than not show a miniature landscape with mounds for mountains and sand to depict water. The sand is raked to give it’s ‘watery’ appearance and can be raked in different styles over and over again.

Source: www.homepatiodesign.com

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A serious answer to your question:

Japanese gardening tools are really amazing. Wonderful to work with, expensive, nicely designed. Not exactly the same as a Jesse James or an Arlen Ness motorcycle but definitely "cool." You should check out Hida Tool in Berkeley. They have a website. And, no, I don't work for them. I just buy some tools from them from time to time.

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  • Avatar Tim B How do I build a Japanese rock garden?
    Jun 11, 2010 by Tim B | Posted in Garden & Landscape

    I am referring to the ones where people use the rakes to create ripple designs that encircle larger rocks, and create ripple designs at the edges of the garden.

    I need to know the following things:

    What materials are needed to build such a garden?

    If it takes up an entire backyard, how much would the cost be estimated at?

    • There is not much done about building a Japanese Garden. You an easily do that by yourself or even can hire the professionals to make a beautiful garden. An expert of furniture can easily do that. you can find them online without any hassles. No permit from government is required .. You just need few rocks and garden furniture to build such garden for your home. You can take help from the website link given below..