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Eastern Rock Gardens Introduction

Updated:2013-05-21 10:34:13
Creating an Oriental stone garden is ideal for any space. Even a stretch of land along an alleyway can be transformed into a small courtyard garden showcasing Asian design principles. Naturally, a large space will allow you to incorporate various stone and rock features for great effects. Eastern gardens are supposed to be tranquil, natural, and simple. Stone provides the backbone of the entire design. Think of stone as reflective of mountains in the landscape. Usually, stone will be used in natural, uncut forms in these landscapes. For example, where a Western garden might feature a neat terrace garden on a slope, an Eastern garden will place large rocks haphazardly throughout the slope to reflect a more naturally occurring situation.

Japanese gardens regularly feature groupings of natural stones of various sizes. This might be a focal point, but it also works as a great border between sections of the landscape. In a traditional Oriental garden, group uneven numbers of rocks together with uneven spacing between them to mimic a natural look. No straight lines in your Oriental garden. Traditionally, rocks should be placed in the same positions in which they were found in nature. Mix sizes, colors, and types of rocks to form beautiful groupings. Of course, Oriental gardens feature traditional borders like rock walls to great effect. Chinese gardens in particular make use of many walls to section off garden areas; in this way, each section is a separate outdoor room. Oriental rock walls often resemble rock piles and are seldom given a "finished" look the way rammed earth walls have in Western gardens.

There are some tips with you: Rachel advises, "Cut rocks are sold especially for the purpose of being mortar-less. These stackable rocks make stable walls even without the use of mortar to glue them together. You can buy these rock kits at garden supply stores or order them online."

Eastern gardens generally feature small rock elements as well. A rock with a dip to collect water becomes a simple basin for a traditional Japanese tea garden. A miniature rock wall acts as a support for a small cascade in a Japanese courtyard garden. If the garden happens to be in a dry climate where water is not easily kept, pools or streams of gravel can be installed to reflect the element of water even though it is not present. Stones like white quartz can be sprinkled atop the dry streams to represent foam and moving water. Sand or gravel can be layered on top of the ground and raked into different patterns to represent wind and water. Stone can also be used to form Oriental bridges over true water features like creeks or ponds. Or, consider adding a few large rocks to your pond to just above the water's surface like islands for a quintessential Oriental look.

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