Creating your own Japanese Zen Garden. All explained in easy steps.

The Japanese Zen garden style has attracted world attention in recent years.The most famous garden of this type in Japan is Ryoan-ji,constructed in 1480 in Kyoto. The photo below taken by Olivier Lejade from flickr in 2006 speaks a thousand words.

Ryôan-ji 01.JPG

"Karesansui"(translates as dry water and mountain)garden designs are perhaps the most exotic and beautiful gardens known to man. This "dry-landscape" style of garden that is very popular today actually comes from the the advent of Zen Buddhism in the 6th century.Archaeologists have found traces of rock gardens from the time of Empress Suiko which was in 592 AD.Then they were used by monks as an aid to contemplating the meaning of life and nature.This style of garden is not entered and generally the garden has a specific view point from where it needs to be observed usualy from a raised terrace. See the Zen Garden example below from ADELAIDE in Australia. Note the "deer scarer" in the foreground.

ADELAIDE zen garden

Sometimes known as the Japanese rock garden they are known for their simplicity and lack of plants.In fact you will find many of these gardens to be void of any plantation at all. The illusion of water is created by raked sand so as to suggest rippling water.The arrangement of rocks represent islands and the mountains the simplicity and harmony of life . This age old tradition has only grown in popularity over time and finds it self being sought after in our times. The good thing about these gardens is that they can be created in a very small space. Hence having a huge backyard or front lawn is not a prerequisite for you to have a Zen garden in your home.One may then contemplate the raked pattern of gravel and large stones that represent water and islands.

This example is from the USA and is a great example of the use of gravel and rocks. A great photograph of MORIKAMI HOUSE in Florida.

Morikami House Zen Garden

The creation of Japanese Zen gardens can range from extremely simple to highly elaborate and extensive. For most people the rippling water and the rocks represent the geographical positioning of the country of Japan. There are others who seek deeper innate meaning in the conceptual garden of tranquility. Their popularity has led many people to experiment with the art medium. Creating a Zen garden is no longer something that only a person from Japanese origin can do. Rather many people have studied and mastered the skill whilst adding their own creative touches.

The concept once started out by monks is now in high fashion. It is perhaps the simplicity and elegance of the Zen style of garden that have helped them to retain their appeal even to this day.