From around the 13th century, the Japanese Buddhist monks used the Zen garden design as a spiritual place to contemplate and meditate. The Zen garden design creates a three dimensional image which is planned with a foreground, and a background leading into a perspective.
All elements of a Zen garden are designed with a purpose for being in the garden.
Water provides life. As a natural element water can be displayed as a stream, pond or water feature. You can also use sand to represent water, an ideal solution in dry climates.
The planting element in a Zen garden design brings emotion to the garden with various colors, heights and textures.
One of the most important elements of a Zen garden are the rocks. With rocks you can create dimensions. When you select your rocks and stones, select various sizes and position them with the larger ones to the front and the smaller ones to the background. Well-worn rocks will add character and depth to the design.
If you want an alternative element to the water element, then sand or pebble formations can be used. If you swirl the sand to create the rippling or rushing effect of the water this will help provide an energy aspect to the garden. What is used is not sand from the beach but rather crushed granite and you can get it in varying colors. A dark area of the garden can be lifted with the lighter pebbles or sand.
An architectural element for your Zen garden design can be a bridge. Bridges can be used to connect different areas of your garden, leading you on through to areas that would be otherwise unreachable.
Other architectural elements of a Zen garden design can be ornaments and these can be used as focal points. Stone lanterns and stone basins are often used. A stone lantern can be placed on a stone pedestal, depending on the height required for balance. A custom for the stone basins is, for the basin to be kept filled with clean water and by splashing the surroundings will keep the area refreshed.
The use of a small garden bridge is actually a design that dates back to ancient China and Japan. With the right touch, it brings out the beauty of any garden, small and large alike. It used to be called by many other names such as ornamental bridge, foot bridge, landscape bridge, oriental bridge, pond bridge and Japanese bridge. The use of small bridges in garden can also be seen in modern hotels and shopping malls around the world.
Redwood bridges are actually small and arched structures than spans from 4 feet to 20 feet and are about 3 feet wide. The arched design is considered more elegant than the flat bridge. It looks splendid above a small pond in a miniature garden or garden landscapes. The designs of these decorative bridges have evolved throughout the ages and you can now choose from a wide variety of designs. Some landscape companies offer customization depending on the preference of its clients. The hand rails or side rails make these bridges look more beautiful. Hand rails come in varieties as well, may it be for protection for kids or purely for decoration. Some hand rails are heavily designed with ornaments while other rails have lights on both ends to make it look more elegant at night.
Redwood bridges are commonly used in elaborate landscaping projects but it is now being used by many homeowners for their small garden, over their small pond, over a rough or terrain on their lawn or gardens and simply give a new look to any property. Today, arched bridges can easily be seen being sold in many garden fairs, garden centers, and home and garden improvement stores. Most are already assembled but require assembly.