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Plan a Zen garden

Zen garden is not just a rock garden

Zen garden is NOT just a Japanese style rock garden. It is a miniature of nature. Sand represents stream and rocks represent montains, so the garden should be symbol of miniature nature. Zen gardens are artistic but they are not an art. Zen garden have to look like symbol of natural.

Therefore, When designing Zen garden, always consider nature landscape.

Ideas and designs

In Zen garden, you should not

  • plant many tree or shurbs.
  • use grass.

It is nice to

  • use only one or two trees, or sometimes not to use trees.
  • plant green trees out of sand.
  • landscape prune hedge and shrub.
  • screen with bamboo fence.

What you need

Gravel or sand

It is necessary for paving. White or pale color is good. Dark gravel is not recommended.


Do not choose many types or many colours. Use one type of rocks. Do not mix sandstone and limestone in one garden.
Sand stone does not suit in Zen garden anyway. White or gray or silightly pink, yellow, any pale coulour is good. Include some odd shaped stone is nice.

Some trees or shrubs

If you like.

Plan for Zen garden

To make everything asymmetry sounds easy but actually it is not easy.

Bad example

Bad Zen garden design

The above is top view of bad example of Zen garden.

Nature doesn' t have isosceles triangle or equilateral triangle. So, in the top view, rocks should make scalene triangle.

Good example

Good Zen garden design

In the above, there is no isosceles triangle. All rocks make scalene triangle. Nothing is symmetrical.


Placeing rocks

Like top view, you should not make isosceles triangle.

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Kyoto, Mt Fuji, Tokyo