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Japanese Garden Design - Dry Water
Dry water is very common in Japanese gardens, and it is very eye catching too. Wait a minute, I can hear you questioning the time period 'dry water'- it's a contradiction in terms isn't it? Well, YES and NO! And it's the NO part I'm going to concentrate on in this small article. But let me make clear the principles of water sources and options in these specific types of gardens.
Water sources in these types of gardens ought to appear as natural as attainable and blend in with the surroundings. Fountains don't exists in Japanese gardens, waterfalls yes, but fountains no. They're man made and never 'natural' in appearance. Do not get me unsuitable I'm not 'fountainist' it's just with Japanese gardens there are specific rules that have to be observed. When you really wanted a fountain in a Japanese garden, it's not a heinous crime but your backyard wouldn't be wholly authentic!
Streams- practically always man-made are a big part of Japanese gardening, they usually are constructed 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 feminine and the male components of 'water' and 'fire'.
This 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 natural feel. The shapes of ponds should also look natural for this reason as well.
Water isn't positioned within the centre of the garden- particularly ponds. these will often have bigger stones within them to simulate islands. Generally it is frequent for them to have a smallish waterfall. The usage of stones is always very structural and symmetrical. This additionally applies to the all styles of oriental gardens.
OK, that is the wet stuff out of the way. Let's move onto the idea 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 backyard will more usually than not show a miniature landscape with mounds for mountains and sand to depict water. The sand is raked to present it's 'watery' look and may be raked in several kinds time and again again.
In Japanese gardens 'Dry water' is featured more often than not in 'Karesansui' gardens. It's one of the standard types you can visit or try to design and build and within the English language it means 'Dry mountain stream'. These types of Japanese gardens are know simply as 'Dry' gardens and are closely influenced by Zen Buddhism. They are peaceable, easy and waterless- rocks are used to symbolise land lots and the 'Dry water' -or- SAND/GRAVEL is raked to make it look like the ocean or a large body of water. Brilliantly intelligent and with that means too.
Many hundreds of years ago this type of backyard was constructed by 'Senzui Kawarami' in a simple English translation this means 'Mountain, Stream and Riverbed folks'. They had been master craftsmen by trade and vocation and specialised in building these gorgeous Zen influenced gardens. It's generally accepted by Scholars that these types of gardens design originated in China as does a good deal of Japanese backyard history and influences. However that is one other story...
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