The shape and character of zen gardens result from the religious beliefs and philosophy which were focused on: trees, mountains, rocks, streams and even sides of the world. Japanese believed that composition of those elements has a benevolent impact on their life. Also the garden made according to the zen design needs to comply this order.
The thought and the symbol
All of the elements of nature are perceived as a symbols of ideas. The main rule that should be considered while arranging the Japanese garden is to show with those symbols some general, philosophical message, that is important in your life. The symbol should be easy in recognition. Composition of some plants and decorations may influent positively on our minds, enhance creativity or have calming qualities etc. It is also believed that symbols can improve our character traits and relations with people. For instance: stalks of bamboo placed in vase have good impact on our loyalty and reinforce relations between friends. On the other hand, low, flat rocks located next to the short plants in spots ensure your family safety and peace.
The unity of the space
Another crucial rule is harmony between the interior and outdoor space. It means that the occupants and guests should still have visual contact with both of those parts of the house. Thus, solution recommended by designers are: winter garden or glass door to the garden, which don’t limit your vital space. Terrace, porch or winter garden is – according to zen philosophy claims – another room, which should be “equipped” in plants and rocks instead of any furniture. It allows you to meet demand of another rule – direct contact with nature.
Miniaturization of the landscape
The idea of miniaturization is a focal point of Japanese culture. It can be easily reached by using appropriate decorations. Thanks to small accessories you can reflect the idea of the unity with nature.
The items you can use are: bowls with water – symbol of the ocean, shrubbery, bonsai trees that reflect trees and forests or rocks and sculptures – symbols of strength and eternity.
Designers advise also to create the miniature gardens in boxes – compositions of the sand, rocks and plants – and place them next to the house entrance.