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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 term '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 clarify the rules of water sources and options in these particular types of gardens.
Water sources in these types of gardens ought to appear as natural as possible and blend in with the surroundings. Fountains don't exists in Japanese gardens, waterfalls sure, but fountains no. They're man made and never 'natural' in appearance. Do not get me mistaken I'm not 'fountainist' it's just with Japanese gardens there are particular guidelines that have to be observed. In case you really needed a fountain in a Japanese backyard, it's not a heinous crime but your garden would not be wholly genuine!
Streams- practically always man-made are a big part of Japanese gardening, they often are constructed 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 components 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 provide the 'water' a 'natural' look and an natural feel. The shapes of ponds must also look natural for this reason as well.
Water is never placed within the centre of the backyard- particularly ponds. these will typically have larger stones within them to simulate islands. Typically it is widespread for them to have a smallish waterfall. The use of stones is always very structural and symmetrical. This additionally 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 replicate water and this makes smaller panorama reproductions far easier. A Zen garden will more often than not show a miniature panorama with mounds for mountains and sand to depict water. The sand is raked to provide it's 'watery' appearance and will be raked in different styles again and again again.
In Japanese gardens 'Dry water' is featured more usually than not in 'Karesansui' gardens. It is one of the crucial well-liked types you'll be able to visit or try to design and build and in 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, simple and waterless- rocks are used to symbolise land masses and the 'Dry water' -or- SAND/GRAVEL is raked to make it look like the ocean or a big body of water. Brilliantly clever and with meaning 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 individuals'. They have been master craftsmen by trade and vocation and specialised in building these beautiful Zen influenced gardens. It's usually accepted by Scholars that these types of gardens design originated in China as does a great deal of Japanese backyard history and influences. However that's one other story...
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