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Japanese Backyard Design - Dry Water
Dry water is very common in Japanese gardens, and it may be 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. But let me clarify the principles of water sources and features in these specific types of gardens.
Water sources in these types of gardens should appear as natural as potential and blend in with the surroundings. Fountains do not exists in Japanese gardens, waterfalls sure, however fountains no. They're man made and not 'natural' in appearance. Do not get me mistaken I'm not 'fountainist' it's just with Japanese gardens there are particular guidelines that need to be observed. If you really wished a fountain in a Japanese backyard, it's not a heinous crime but your garden wouldn't be wholly genuine!
Streams- practically always man-made are a big part of Japanese gardening, they typically are built with curves giving them a more natural appearance. The positioning of lanterns is more typically than not by streams or ponds within a garden. This represents the feminine and the male parts 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, in order to present the 'water' a 'natural' look and an organic feel. The shapes of ponds should additionally look natural for this reason as well.
Water is rarely placed in the centre of the backyard- particularly ponds. these will usually have larger stones within them to simulate islands. Generally it is widespread for them to have a smallish waterfall. Using stones is always very structural and symmetrical. This also applies to the all sorts of oriental gardens.
OK, that is 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 replicate water and this makes smaller landscape reproductions far easier. A Zen backyard will more often than not show a miniature panorama with mounds for mountains and sand to depict water. The sand is raked to give it's 'watery' appearance and might be raked in several types over and over again.
In Japanese gardens 'Dry water' is featured more usually than not in 'Karesansui' gardens. It's one of the vital well-liked 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 merely as 'Dry' gardens and are closely influenced by Zen Buddhism. They are peaceable, simple and waterless- rocks are used to symbolise land plenty and the 'Dry water' -or- SAND/GRAVEL is raked to make it look like the sea or a big body of water. Brilliantly intelligent and with which means too.
Many hundreds of years ago this type of garden was constructed by 'Senzui Kawarami' in a easy English translation this means 'Mountain, Stream and Riverbed individuals'. They have been master craftsmen by trade and vocation and specialised in building these stunning Zen influenced gardens. It is generally accepted by Scholars that these types of gardens design originated in China as does a great deal of Japanese garden history and influences. But that is another story...
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