Zen Architect
Home
About
Portfolio
Feng Shui
Wabi Sabi
Gardens
Press Reviews
Links

Zen Landscaping
Celebrating Natural States

Zen Garden

History
Zen gardens offer a mysical retreat into quiet refinement. Entering the gates is offering the oppurtunity to leaving all ones concerns behind. The meandering paths offer impressionistic treasures that propel gliding tranquil expressions. The garden setting provides natural order of heaven and earth, balanced by elements of Yin/Yang. An ordinary person can have an unordinary experience discovering groundedness and reassurance.

River The first Zen gardens were believed to be orchestrated by Shinto's. Even thought Shintoism was not a written order, its way of living was through art of landscape. In absence to indocumentation, Shinto ways to landscape became an universal expression of warmly inviting outsiders seeking from any orientation. The garden space of stillness calms the mind so it can open the imagination and liberally free oneself.

Zen A garden theme purpose promtes vitalizing one's being and remind living immortality. In fact, Shinto's viewed all things as living, therefore include every material aspect in detail. Shinto's expressions were design to promote deep contemplation to vitally rise an ethereal like substance. Even the protruding rocks themselves were to believed to pulsate a masculine "CHI" to feel "Qi" (known as vital breath), acquiring spirit of Zen. Rocks represent an ancient folklore "Sacred String of Islands" that bring immortality and longevity. The symbol of the classic red arched bridge fuses gaps within the crossing seas. This "cross-over" theme within islands was believed to string and unify awareness in transitioning separate worlds.

RockIt was not until later around 6th century that Zen landscaping begin evolving for the purpose of enhancing worship. Zen priests use the fluid medium of dry landscape "Karesanui" to better enhance their ways of being. These Zen gardens triggered easy into meditation for practicing monks. At nights, they would move the candle lit lanterns from the temples into the gardens so to appreciate evening open skies. As an semi-outdoor meeting hall, a Tea Room was staged with a waiting bench for the purpose of spiritual ceremonies in the garden. Whether for spiritual or art, today the classic expressions of these gardens allows everyone to appreciate the impressions these environments served, echoed through timeless years.

Methods
There are no methods or rules to garden planning other through trusting intuitive spirit of meditation with design. If it feels great, then it is promoting the vital source of balance in well being. Creating comfort of restorative experience can be accomplished through means of backdrops. These scenery's optimally frees the spirit as it allows one to drop all negativity and disturbance so contemplation is grounded in presence. Simplistically as far as choosing design elements, what you leave out is more important than what you leave in. By allusively letting go of classic European gardening rules or any other hindered references will eventually free the mind and allow clean slated reference in design. The goal is to provide an honest theme of palatable materials conducive to the surrounding. These include materials that are mostly indigenous in type. Plant material can authentically be chosen based on climate of area, aware with environmental aspects and honoring limited water resources where applicable.

Landscape may be quietly ornamented by accessories that splash to punctuate garden zenergy. Using concrete lanterns, bamboo ladles, natural hedging, arched bridges, stupas, hand forged metal bells, calligraphic carvings, chiseled stone monuments and other crude groupings from modern to ancient contemporary art forms, all contribute with zenergy. Even the indigenous rocks can be sculptured by leaving impressionistic chisel marks delivered by the human hand. Letting all these accessories weather naturally and develope green moss carpet offers a velvet like feel with the surroundings. Fencing materials can be tethered bamboo pieces of different assortments of flats and rounds that can bring implied boundaries, lines and textures of interest. At smaller spaces, adjusting fence heights with false accentuated vanishing points at opposite corners give gardens a sensation of larger space.

Zen GardenWater basins, ponds and streams add tranquility and purity by both sound and visual form. Taking account with gravity, water cascading from top shelves offers different sound variations from an aggressive sheet flow right into subtle trickling. Such acoustic design variations can be manipulated as waterdrop sounds range from babbling, splash, gargling, pattering, etc.,, Where water is not possible, dry waterfall, dry river and dry ponds can be sculptured into a static softscape, then sound added by an obscured speaker system. Other sources that emulate water dynamics are wind chimes or selecting trees which leaves glitter to brisk of winds. Using rain gutters and rain chains to cascade into stone troughs also add seasonal tranquil sounds. Even playing with the shade and light beams through canopy of trees generate feel of flickering water as the dappled impressions of dark to light dance in contrast within settings of Yin and Yang.

Planting elements offer a genre of their own. The subtle and simple palette of materials can give an garden an micro illusion that can explode into the macro world naturally all through scale. The trimming of soft sensuous masses from dense bushes could offer a cloud like feel. Perhaps on the less dense bushes, the exposed base limbs can be trimmed emulating a miniature forest so to create depth and distance backdrop for composition. Conerfours trees have dignity aura with their pointed needles reaching the ground to sky. These trees reverend longevity, endured through time as believed in surviving thousands of years. As in "Bonsai", tying bamboo splines to small bushes exhilarate time of an old weathered contorted coniferous tree, assimilating expressions of surviving heavy gusted winds. Also, accenting with Bamboo shoots may mask unwanted visual surroundings from neighbouring yards.

Contact: John Salat at freeingwinds@earthlink.net or call 949-235-4847

Back To Top