There are fundamental and intentional principles in Zen garden design. Gert J Van Tonder and Michael J. Lyons explore these various principles in their study, Visual Perception in Japanese Rock Garden Design For example, they explain, “arranging rocks like the scales on a fish (also called the folding screen technique), creates the impression of a vast, deep landscape with mountains.” They continue, “suggested landscape features, like streams, should never be straight, but curved in a manner suggestive of an endlessly winding structure” (Tonder and Lyons).
Knowing some zen basics can be helpful when designing your own, however as an advocate of self-expression, I think the most important part of designing a zen garden is to make it entirely your own. Because the Zen garden is based on symbolism, each person’s encounter with it is a wholly individualized experience.
Tonder and Lyons state, “visual grouping can be interpreted as segmentation, the division, by the visual system, of a scene into possibly meaningful parts, as an early step in the analysis of a visual scene.” They imply that each area of a Zen garden carries the possibility of meaning and every brain, upon witnessing a Zen garden, unwittingly begins its own analytical processes. A small Zen garden is observed all at once, unlike an English garden, for example, that calls for wandering. The Zen garden is more like a landscape painting. This is why a small Zen garden is an excellent option for designing an indoor oasis–it can function as a form of decor, a shrine or a compressed landscape.
Ingredients for Your Tiny Indoor Zen Garden
Water, Religious Figurines, Candles, Trinkets and whatever else inspires you!
I’m so pleased to announce that three of my poems, “Slots,” “Scraping” and “Make a Decision” have been published in Barking Sycamores Literary Magazine Issue 13. Barking Sycamores is dedicated to neurodivergent literature and its craft. I’m so honored to be a part of this project. Barking Sycamores Issue 13
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