There are plenty of creative choices for the rock garden enthusiast. The Japanese Zen garden is my favorite but you can be just as happy building the most common form, the basic rock garden.
Since Japanese Zen gardens are rockier and less plant-filled, if you're going to put together a basic rock garden with more plants and flowers, there are some things that you should think about.
If you're working in an area that is already quite rocky it will be much easier to start your garden. However, you'll still need to plan well to make the picturesque garden you desire.
Starting at the most troublesome spot (every garden has one!) is a way to relieve long run frustration. Build or use an existing slope where there's plenty of sunshine.
Obviously the easiest rocks to use are the ones already in your garden or around your house. However, don't worry...most gardening supply store have plenty that you can purchase.
For aesthetic purposes, your plants and rocks should follow a color scheme. Make sure that the design has a natural look and feel to it. And when choosing your plants, use ones that won't need lots of water since the water will drain through the rocks.
Once you've picked your rocks and plants the plant spacing, elevation, slope, and design should reflect your artistic traits.
It should only take a day or two to build the rock garden of your dreams. And days, months, or years for you to enjoy it!
Zen tradition in Japanese gardens, together with Shinto are a very large part of Japanese gardening. It is because of these predominant traditions a Japanese garden is a place of contemplation and reflection and a visitors state of mind should reflect this when visiting one. It is important to fully understand these principles when visiting a Japanese or Japanese Zen garden.
The history of Japanese Zen gardens is easily traceable. Zen Priests were Chinese in origin and between 1185 and 13333 they began to influence Japanese residential buildings and gardens. China was such an influential player both politically, militarily and culturally during this period. During the period 1185AD to 1333AD Chinese Zen priests became much more influential in everyday life and belief processes in Japan.
The Zen priests brought about changes to Temples and residential buildings meaning that gardens were designed to be viewed from the inside of a building- visual appeal was a necessity- to view from inside and appreciate a Japanese Zen garden's beauty in one view was considered uncluttered and meant that the garden was simple and without many components.
These 'single view' gardens were designed by the priests who were known as Ishitateso or 'Rock Placing Monks' in English.
In the period 1333 to 1568 considered by many historians to be 'the golden age ' of Japanese gardens, Zen Buddhism began to heavily influence Japanese gardens. A signature of these types of gardens is using groups of rocks to represent mountains or waterfalls. White sand was used to create the illusion of flowing water. This is known as 'Dry Water'.
Groups of rocks were used to represent mountains and the general landscape and sand or a type of gravel would be used in the garden design to portray the sea or large bodies of water. Ponds are never used in Japanese Zen gardens.
Japanese Rock gardens are amongst some of the most beautiful examples of these serene havens. Each rock and stone has a reason for being where they are and without getting too complicated the types of stones and rocks used and the reasons why are numerous.
One of the most popular types of Japanese garden is called a 'Karesansui' garden. In English this word means 'dry mountain stream' and that is why these types of garden are known as 'Dry' gardens. They are heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism.