Japanese gardens make heavy use of symbolic representation and the dry landscape garden is the most widely known and most celebrated of Japan’s gardening styles. In the case of our Dry River Garden, rocks of various sizes and kinds have been carefully positioned to create the illusion of flowing water.
At the upper end of the streambed, sago palms neighbor several large vertical rocks that represent the high point at the head of the stream from which the waterway springs. As the streambed meanders downward in gentle curves, it widens in the bends, as it would in nature. A mix of real river rocks has been judiciously arranged in and along the streambed to mimic the rock-moving abilities of an actual waterway: small tumbled gray river rocks of uniform size pave the bottom of the stream bed and boulders that are too large for the “current” to move remain in the middle of the stream. Similarly, smaller stones are washed to the center and to the end of the streambed. Isolated stones far from the streambed are called “accompanying” stones.