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Add A Japanese Touch To Your Interior Design

All gardens, properly cared for, can be spiritual places, where you go to relax, meditate and recharge your batteries. Most people think of gardens as existing in their front or back lawns only, but the miniature Japanese garden provides a place of tranquility within the home.

Japan is a country that consists of hundreds of islands, although only four of them are large enough to be inhabited: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. These four islands have mountains running straight down the middle, so the majority of inhabitants live on the coasts. As a result, space is at a premium. This is evident in the designs of their cities, streets, cars, homes, and gardens.

They're all designed to use space efficiently. Japanese gardens are no exception.

Japanese gardens are small, quiet and elegant. They are designed to provide a quiet place for one to appreciate nature and to contemplate the world.

If you have a beautiful lawn both front and back, you may think that a Japanese garden would not fit into your design, but this is not necessarily true. It is quite easy to have a Japanese garden in your house.

A miniature Zen garden consists of a wooden tray filled with white purified sand, a tiny rake, and an assortment of rocks. You can design this garden anyway you like...and rake it daily as a meditation exercise. It is also possible to get a miniature Zen garden with a fountain attached - although this design is usually a decorative piece and does not allow one to rake the sand or change the arrangement of the stones.

Note that a miniature Zen garden should consist of sand in a wooden tray - or a stone tray. You can get miniature Zen gardens in cardboard trays that come from Office Playground, a website that offers miniature gardens of all kinds.

These tiny Zen gardens are designed to allow you to create your own raked designs (it's the raking of the sand that provides you with the opportunity to mediate).

Raking the Sand
It is believed by scholars that the earliest shrines of Shinto, Japan's native religion, may have been forest clearings in which the ground was purified for the spirits, by putting down a layer of washed sand or gravel. The sand can also be intended to evoke the thought of waves or currents.

The placing of the rocks on the sand also has a spiritual meaning as well as an aesthetic one.

Examples of Zen Gardens
If you'd like to see what other people do with their miniature Zen gardens you can visit such websites as www.zengarden.co.za, http://www.garden-gift.com (which offers a Zen garden inspired by a world-famous one in Kyoto, and comes with a torii zen chime with mallet).

A torii gate is a traditional Japanese gate made of wood, with two upright supports and two crossbars on the top, swept upward at the ends as if reaching for the sky. The gate is traditionally painted red. They mark the entrances to Shinto shrines.

Submitted by:

Mr.Andrew Caxton

Andrew Caxton enjoys writing about outdoor decorations for http://www.wrought-iron-guide.com . A website with tips on wrought iron furniture, amongst many related topics.


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