Lotus Temple

The oriental gardens are inspired by the millinery Asian tradition

How to make a Zen garden 2

HOW TO MAKE A ZEN GARDEN

Before designing a classic Zen garden, one must understand and understand its true meaning. The Forma Mentis of this type of garden is to create an elegant and comfortable garden using very few elements, all natural, positioned in a precise and orderly manner. This philosophy strongly recalls the philosophy of life, in fact, it must be bare of frivolous and useless things. The Zen garden must essentially be a place in which to rediscover one’s mental and physical well-being surrounded by nature alone.

Advisable before starting to work, take a pen and paper, and scrupulously create a sketch of what will be our garden with all the elements that are needed.

THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

The fundamental principles for the good realization of a Zen garden are simple and are asymmetry, disparity, contrast and nature.

The asymmetry concerns the shapes of the elements contained in the garden, in fact, everything that is symmetrical is artificial, in fact, the shapes must be sinuous and pleasant.

The contrast is fundamental in Zen gardens, in fact, contrasting combinations are made, for example of large and tall trees near low trees, a reed near the path and rocks near the ponds.

The disparity is used to avoid the symmetries of the elements contained in the garden, in fact, if you look carefully each group of elements always recalls a triangle.

Nature is the principle and the fundamental source for those who design or create a Japanese Zen garden. Logic has it that in a small space a miniature natural landscape can be created.

THE ELEMENTS AND THEIR POSITIONING

The elements present in the Zen garden and therefore useful and indispensable for their own realization are gravel, white sand and stones.

The stones must be semi-finished roughly and have irregular shapes. They should be arranged randomly but with precise aesthetic rules to create a driveway. The path created with stones must never be closed and must not return to itself, it must be linear and lead to a place not visible at the entrance, such as a lawn or small grove.

Water is one of the elements that are always present in the Zen garden, in fact, even in the figural form, it is often represented by gravel or sand, normally two millimetres in diameter. The gravel or sand is moved to create the effect of the waves by means of undulating or rounded designs. The main plants that we can insert inside the Zen garden are the classic plants of Japanese origin such as bamboo, pine, maple, rhododendron, these types of plants are planted because they transmit in the observer, a sense of peace and harmony besides being evergreen plants even during the winter period, the Japanese Zen garden is always green. Moss is also often found on ornamental stones. An important distinction must be made between the female plants and the male plants, the first has a low and roundish shape, while the second is high and angular, in these types of gardens it is difficult to find a large number of male plants, in fact they are found mostly female plants, strictly from flowers and are placed mostly along the path symbolizing beauty and fragility. The male plants can be found mostly located only at the entrance of the garden and are mostly large and deciduous so as to force the visitor to bend down before the splendour of the garden. in these types of gardens, it is difficult to find a large number of male plants, in fact, they are mostly found in female plants, strictly from flowers and are placed mostly along the path, symbolizing beauty and fragility. The male plants can be found mostly located only at the entrance of the garden and are mostly large and deciduous so as to force the visitor to bend down before the splendour of the garden. in these types of gardens, it is difficult to find a large number of male plants, in fact, they are mostly found in female plants, strictly from flowers and are placed mostly along the path, symbolizing beauty and fragility. The male plants can be found mostly located only at the entrance of the garden and are mostly large and deciduous so as to force the visitor to bend down before the splendour of the garden.

Waterfalls are another rather important element, in fact, it gives a lot of importance to the way the waterfalls and the noise it causes.

To give a sense of perspective to the garden and therefore make it appear even larger, it is a good habit to place the smaller plants at the bottom of the garden while the larger ones in the centre.

The ponds or streams created must be formed in such a way as to simulate a lake that extends into the distance. All the elements must be in odd numbers, the number three very recurrent, this to highlight the randomness of the composition very similar to that visible in nature.

How to make a Zen garden: MINIATURE ZEN GARDEN

On the market there are real gardens in Zen style in miniature, which are also called table gardens for their small sizes, in fact, they reach the maximum size of 200 x 150. They are exploited as a corner of reflection and meditation and do not require excessive maintenance. Although in miniature they reflect all the traditional canons like the positioning of the stones, the waves represented by the sand etc. For those who do not, therefore, have a garden on which to create a Zen-style garden, they can “settle” for a table, thus recreating the emotions and settings of the great Japanese Zen gardens in their own homes.

Stephanie Gutierres

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