To be able to understand how to create a Zen Garden, we must first understand the meaning of Zen and the
purpose of its garden.
It is also known as THE JAPANESE ROCK GARDEN.
(KARESANSUI: DRY LANDSCAPE) A
miniature landscape with carefully arranged elements to represent the
essence of nature. (Not its true image) This type of garden is an aid
to the practice of meditation. Creating a zen gardens is “Ishi
wo tateru koto” or The act of setting stones up right.
What is Zen?
A Belief that emphasizes rigid self
control and is closely related to the ideas of minimalism. To be able
to achieve such discipline, there is much needed practice. This
practice is called MEDITATION. Through this practice a sense of
awakening, your true nature, a liberated way of living and the true
meaning of life is said to be achieved.
What are the
Different elements of a Zen Garden?
Each element represents a part of
nature. The surface is divided into two or three areas. It is
dependent on the creator how much per area is allocated.
The first element is Earth. Composed
usually of soil where sometimes plants or moss is to take root. The
amount of space used for the area of soil directly affects the use of
plants and accessories
The next element is “Water”.
Represented or Composed of gravel or sand. This is where meditation
by way of raking is practiced. The Gravel or sand is raked to
represent ripples in water. Raking a Zen Garden is different from
normal yard work; it is an exercise in calming the mind.
The main event of any Zen Garden is its
“Mountains” which could also represent any important symbolism
such as the Buddah or a Boat, an Animal or creature. Whatever you
choose for it to be symbolize will be the highlight of the garden.
These are commonly Composed of Rocks. Preferably Rough rock, with
sharp edges, course with a lot of character. Traditional garden
custom warns to stay away from colored rock since the take away the
focus of the meditator.
How to Plan a Zen Garden?
The first thing you have to decide on
is which element you would like to dominate your garden. The Elements
representing Earth, Water, Mountain, supporting accessories such as
plants, sculpture, lights, bridges and paths can all achieve a
balance to meet the needs of the meditator. There are Zen-gardens
that use plants sparingly. Carefully placing bushes, shrubs, bonsais
or small trees in key spots. Accessibility to the soil area should
be considered for easy pruning, trimming and plant care. You can
always consult Gardeners to know what what advisable plants to use and how to care for them.
The amount of Gravel or sand is
directly relative to the amount of (Raking) meditation you intend to
do. Remember, it is through your meditation that you will keep the
area of this garden clean through Raking.
The focus of any zen garden is the
Grouping of Rocks that seem to have captured the modern crowd to this
ancient method of creating gardens. The concept of less is more has
never been so true in this way of design. Common groupings of usually
two or three (Triad) large stones is strategically placed where it
may feel like it is random and unsymmetrical yet it is exactly where
it suppose to be. Professional Landscape-architects can help you with planning your plot of any size.
Garden historian Gunter Nitschke
wrote: "I consider it to be an abstract composition of "natural"
objects in space, a composition whose function is to incite
How to Personalize a Zen Garden?
A supporting cast of accessories can
help you express a part of yourself. Carefully curated elements
should make it feel like your own. Sculptures of natural materials
are a great addition. The key in choosing these pieces is keeping
your items of natural materials like stone or wood. Well chosen
slabs, drift wood or even pottery could also be added.
In any space, Lighting it up adds a
whole new level of play. With illumination, through Lamps, Lanterns
or Candle holders, Gardens can be appreciated even after the sun has
set. Night lit gardens have a very relaxing atmosphere where the
viewer is placed in a calm disposition to prepare for the nights
What are the “add ons” of a
If you want to take your garden to the
next level. Adding a water element is a great way to bring more
dynamism. The stirring of fish in these bodies of water will
definitely give you another value to your meditation. Adding fish
will help with avoiding wrigglers in stagnant waters. A carefully
placed seat or bench by a tree or near the pond is a great way to
immerse a person to fully appreciate being amidst a sanctuary. Wooden
Bridges across bodies of water and Stone Paths for crossing areas to
transport from one place to the next gives the viewer a panoramic
experience of the Garden you have created.