13 Apr Explore the Ryōan-ji Zen Garden
Zen gardening, also called rock gardening, is a unique form of landscaping that originated in Japan during the Heian Period, beginning in the late 700s. This type of landscape design uses the specific placement of rocks amidst other landscaping features, such as plants, water features, and sand or gravel. The Ryōan-ji Zen garden, located at the Ryōan-ji temple in Kyoto, Japan, is considered by many to be the greatest surviving example of kare-sansui, or “dry landscape,” Zen gardening in the world.
The Principles of Zen Gardening
Zen gardening was developed as a method to introduce the free-flowing form and tranquility of water into an area where none exists. Thus, the “dry landscape” design of a Zen garden is meant to mimic the ripple and flow of water, creating a peaceful atmosphere to focus the mind and cultivate inner tranquility. Zen gardens are designed for viewing from a single specific location, often while seated. These gardens are typically surrounded by a wall to create a barrier between the contained setting of the garden and the outside world.
The Ryōan-ji Zen Garden
The Ryōan-ji Zen garden is thought to have been created around the year 1450, during Japan’s Muromachi Period. However, much controversy exists as to the original builder of the garden and the exact year in which it was established. Covering a total of 248 square meters in a rectangular shape, the Ryōan-ji Zen garden is surrounded by a clay wall topped with tiles made from tree bark. Although the garden itself dates back to the mid-1500s, it was rebuilt in 1799 at a greater height than the previous garden. Inside the garden are 15 stones grouped in five separate formations and surrounded by moss and white gravel. Although the stones are not moved, the gravel continues to be raked daily by the temple’s monks.
Your landscaping should provide an exterior reflection of the space and personality within your home. At Santa Rita Landscaping, we can help you develop and implement the perfect custom landscape design for your Tucson home—visit us online or call (520) 623-0421 to learn more.
This article is part of our collection of The Most Spectacular Gardens in the World!