A rock garden is a garden which is designed around rocks. Some rock gardens are installed in naturally rocky areas, taking advantage of the natural landscape rather than trying to suppress it. Others are built around a single existing rock feature, or gardeners may import rocks to their gardens for the express purpose of building a rock garden. Rock gardens are also known as rockeries or alpine gardens, and they are especially popular in regions where water availability is limited
The tradition of building rock gardens is Asian in origin. Asian rock gardens are an important part of the tradition of aesthetics in Asian art, with each rock and plant being carefully and thoughtfully placed, and such gardens were often attached to monasteries and wealthy homes. In the 17th century, the rock garden reached Europe, and European gardeners started devising their own versions.
In the Japanese rock garden, also sometimes called a Zen garden, there are almost no plants at all. Instead, a wide variety of rocks are used to create a carefully staged scene, with the rocks varying in color, shape, composition, and size. Traditional Zen gardens are often changed with the seasons, and they may include isolated works of art and the occasional plant, with the rocks providing a stark contrast to the plant.
More commonly, rock gardens blend drought-tolerant plants with an arrangement of rocks of different colors, shapes, and sizes. The plants may be arranged in any number of ways, and usually they are chosen with the goal of complementing the rocks in the garden. Bluefieldstone, for example, might be highlighted with blue flowers. Generally, plants do best in a rock garden if they have low water needs, as the drainage in a rock garden tends to be very good, making it difficult to keep plants moist.
Rock gardens can be lush, with rich arrays of green mosses, dense shrubs, and creeping vines, or they may be more stark, with sparse plants and succulents. There are many directions to take when designing a rock garden, and most rock gardens are designed to complement the natural landscape in some way. Often, this involves creating hills and dips in the landscape to showcase the garden, if such terrain irregularities do not already exist.
For gardeners who are not working in a naturally rocky area, arranging a rock garden requires some serious muscle. It pays to sit down and make plans beforehand, thinking about how the garden should look and how it will interplay with the architecture of the house. Arranging delivery with a rock company which will also help to position large rocks is also strongly recommended.
Japanese rock garden:
A Japanese rock garden, also known as a zen garden, is a type of dry garden that typically does not contain any greenery or water and is often created to emulate a landscape. These gardens are normally made up of sand, rock, and gravel. Carefully sculpted shrubs might occasionally be used in some Japanese rock gardens, but this is not very common. In the average Japanese rock garden, the layer of sand or gravel is raked into vertical or wavy lines with larger rocks situated throughout. These lines in the sand or gravel are normally supposed to represent the ocean or some other body of water, while the larger rocks may represent islands or mountains among the water.
The history of the Japanese rock garden probably dates back to roughly 600 AD during the Nara period in China before its popularity spread to Japan, and the gardens may have been designed by Zen priests during that time. The priests would spend hours raking the sand and gravel into either perfect vertical lines or ripples, because this practice probably helped with theirconcentration ability, which was important for meditation. Japanese rock gardens are still used for this purpose in both China and Japan, and there are also smaller-scale rock gardens that can be purchased and placed inside a person’s home or at a place of business that come with a small rake. These small rock gardens may be just as useful as the larger ones for the purpose of enhancing mental clarity.
Placement of stones in Japanese rock gardens might appear to be random and nonsensical to a person who doesn’t understand what they are for, but the stone placement is actually very precise and important to the design of a rock garden. There are approximately five different types of stones used in a Japanese rock garden, and each type of stone means something different based on its shape. The stones are placed carefully throughout the garden so that they complement each other to help create a peaceful, calm area for meditation. Some rock gardens also have stones stacked up in the center to create a place for a person to sit and meditate.
It is typically considered easy to make a Japanese rock garden. A wide pit or hole should initially be dug and filled with sand or gravel. After the sand and gravel have been added to the pit, it is normally smoothed over with a rake. Larger rocks and stones may then be situated throughout the gravel or sand in a pattern that may be determined by the creator of the garden. Most Japanese rock garden experts advise people to create patterns with rocks and stones that seem calming and to avoid any rocks that have an unflattering appearance because these rocks might disrupt the calming influence the garden should be designed to have.