My name is Rosalyn and I am 13. I have been designing a Japanese inspired garden for a school project over the past few months. We are about ready to turn my design into a reality and I am really excited and nervous! My momhas given me the side of our house to design. I could use any resource or material advice, specifically:
Type of rock or gravel or pebble to use for the rock ( zen) portion of my garden. I would like to be able to rake designs. I don't know what to use!
My grandma bought me a beautiful granite basin for my tsukubai, and I do not know where to purchase the parts I need (the bamboo spout, the water reservoir for underground and pump) and I need directions!!
Any help with resources, local or otherwise, would be appreciated. My project is due in April and I have a long way to go!
Wow, Rosalyn.. impressive.
you probably have already figured this out, that the Japanese garden uses materials that are commonly found in the area the gardener is. Japanese gardens specialize in making the common, the everyday item, special , by using them in a manner that makes them 'beautiful'.. and we probably spend a good portion of our time thinking up ways of using materials that might be unlikely to use at first consideration.
gravel: normally what is used is granite grit available for feeding to turkeys on farms. Size (#3) is about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch in size and NOT SMOOTH, otherwise you can not rake it so that the patterns will stay in place. The colour is mostly speckled black/white that gives a white feeling to the space.
-- but depending on the 'idea' of what you are presenting with the garden, the colour may be:
- whatever you find close by - keeping in mind that different colours will develop a different feeling and sensation for your viewer. White gravel would be difficult to contemplate with, unless you have sunglasses on. Grey colours cause mental disassociation, and brown colours entice people to touch and feel.
- darker may be better than lighter, so that the reflection during high light does not hurt the eyes of the viewer. This is the artists choice, your choice to influence what you wish your viewer to feel and think.
- may be 2 or more sizes, depending on you, and your artists' intention. - for example there may be actual waves, ocean waves in your design, and larger fist size stones would represent the 'breakers'. These could be a lighter colour for the 'foam' at the beach or darker for deep swells in deep ocean.
- (for your research: there are about 18+ different patterns, I presume you have found those. )
Spout/flume: kakehi --
- I'm sure one of us can find a diagram for how to make a traditional one if this is what you wish.
-- in the meantime, the basin, tsukubai area represents clean water from a stream or mountain place. This means that depending on your artistic idea, you could use a tree branch that has been hollowed out to run water, or what is often used if the garden is more 'modern', is an aluminum 1 inch diameter pipe, that is available at Home Depot.
i use clear 'food grade' plastic tubing also available at Home Depot as are the brass fittings in the plumbing section. Make sure you fit all the pieces together before you leave the store. This takes me about an hour when I am there. Also add an on/off valve so that you can control how much water goes through the pipe to create the right sound.
The pump, i this case is a 'pond' pump, I prefer is a 'mag-pump' that is 'magnetically' driven and does not contain oil. you only need a low water volume, .. but this is something you figure out at the last because then you know how much 'rise' (called 'head'), the water needs to take and how long a tube/hose you will need to run the water through.
For the basin that holds the water so water can be circulated... recently in Home Depot I found a 3" high water basin to put under a hot water tank that I wondered how it could be used for placing a basin onto. I have half of th process worked out and need to invent the last parts. What I'm trying to say is, we invent new ways of doing things quite a bit, based on whatever materials you have on hand rather than 'this is the only way to do this'.. creative thinking.. it helps..
the traditional way in my area, is to use a pond liner over a hollowed out area like a mini pond, and to place stones that support the basin and hold water...
What materials do you have on hand or around or can ask people for? please remember that most items were normally found on farms, in fields or forests. Or reused materials. In Japanese 'mitate-mono' and in these days 'repurposing / recycling... eg: if you had old copper pipe available, then you could use this for the bamboo pipe, an old log could be hollowed out for the pipe to be coming out from.
-- should we post pictures? Show us what you are doing and perhaps we can fill in details or 'how-to' ideas that will work easiest for you..
I'm sure others have a lot of suggestions as well... edzard
Thank you for your message. I will tell my mom about the gravel size. I was thinking a grey color, but the rock that I was just donated is a grayish black lava type rock. It was free, and repurposed, like you talked about, so I guess it is good!! I'm worried my dry garden will be too dark if I use grey gravel.
I will see what I can find for the water basin thing under my fountain and my mom is taking me to a Japanese market that may have the kakehi or I could make one?? I do have bamboo. Is it difficult?? Thank you! I will post a photo of my design and check back for more help!!
Rosalyn.. If you think grey will be too dark, then figuring out a way to make it look lighter in colour is probably a good thing. Most of this depends on the reflection of the light to the viewers eyes. With dark stone, too much contrast may also not a be good thing depending on the stone placements, so 'whiter' gravel may be too much.
Kakehi are fairly easy to make, just be careful with the finetoothed saw and avoid bamboo splinters in the fingers.
I look forward to the photo of the design and perhaps the best gravel colour can be figured out. Perhaps add a photo of the stone, the texture and shape may offer a clue to deciding what is best. edzard
Welcome to the forum, if you go to my website it shows you how to male a Shishi-odishi.