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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 is not it? Well, YES and NO! And it's the NO part I'm going to concentrate on in this small article. However let me make clear the principles of water sources and features in these particular types of gardens.
Water sources in these types of gardens ought to seem as natural as attainable and blend in with the surroundings. Fountains do not exists in Japanese gardens, waterfalls yes, but fountains no. They're man made and not 'natural' in appearance. Do not get me improper I am not 'fountainist' it's just with Japanese gardens there are particular rules that must be observed. Should you really wished a fountain in a Japanese backyard, it's not a heinous crime however your garden would not 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 usually than not by streams or ponds within a garden. This represents the feminine and the male elements of 'water' and 'fire'.
This idea is known in Japanese tradition as YIN and YANG. Any stream in a Japanese backyard will have deliberate imperfections designed into it, so as to offer the 'water' a 'natural' look and an natural feel. The shapes of ponds should additionally look natural for this reason as well.
Water is rarely placed within the centre of the backyard- particularly ponds. these will often have bigger stones within them to simulate islands. Sometimes it is frequent for them to have a smallish waterfall. The use of stones is always very structural and symmetrical. This also applies to the all forms 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 pretty straight forward- sand is used to copy water and this makes smaller landscape reproductions far easier. A Zen garden will more typically than not show a miniature landscape with mounds for mountains and sand to depict water. The sand is raked to offer it's 'watery' look and can be raked in several styles time and again again.
In Japanese gardens 'Dry water' is featured more often than not in 'Karesansui' gardens. It's one of the most common types you'll be able to visit or try and 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're 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 sea or a large body of water. Brilliantly clever 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 have been master craftsmen by trade and vocation and specialised in building these stunning Zen influenced gardens. It is typically accepted by Scholars that these types of gardens design originated in China as does a great deal of Japanese backyard history and influences. But that is another story...
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