A dry rock garden is typically uses boulders, gravel or pebbles to simulate a dry stream bed. The texture and form of the stone is featured so as to convey the theme of the garden. Dry rock gardens typically are not lush with lots of vegetation and are often designed as minimalist requiring very low maintenance. What makes a dry rock garden a type of Sacred Garden you may ask. A “zen garden” is what most people think of when designing a dry rock garden that has a sacred component such as meditation or contemplation. Below is an example of a dry Japanese Tea Garden I designed and built. To read about its construction see my post A Japanese Garden From Design to Completion

Dry rock garden with a Japanese Tea Garden theme

Initially designed to have a body of water, this dry rock garden a part of a tea garden ended up being a river rock pebble stream and gravel pond.

ABOVE: This small covered structure is called a Komiachi Machai or “waiting area” in Japanese. The waiting area is part of the experience of strolling through a Tea Garden prior to entering the formal Tea House where the Tea Master conducts the tea ceremony. The Roji or pathway is a key component that leads from the entrance and throughout the garden allowing guests to quiet their minds.

BELOW: This dry rock garden stone arrangement was designed and situated to be viewed from the Tea House. The river rock stones mimic the beach shoreline while the stone represent mountainous island landforms in the ocean. The gravel can be raked to simulate waves on the water and provide an interactive form of meditation. A bamboo fence was used as a backdrop to simplify the view and be more conducive for meditation.

Dry rock garden is often thought of as a traditional Japanese zen raked sand garden designed and built by JSL Landscape

For a more thorough explanation of this Japanese Tea Garden see my post Scottsdale Japanese Tea Garden