• Welcome to Japanese Gardening Forums 日本の園芸フォーラム. Please login or sign up.
April 12, 2021, 06:37:07 AM


NOTICE:  JGO online resources will now be hosted by North American Japanese Garden Association. Learn more at https://najga.org/

Don Pylant, April, 2021

opinion on karensansui

Started by patch, May 25, 2009, 09:28:39 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Thanks for moving my pics. I feel special somehow 
Good people of the forum,
I humbly ask your opinion on the following pics. Honesty is appreciated. Just completed the first phase of the garden redo since I took out the pond. The area is supposed to represent a streambed with an upper and lower falls. (Lower falls is where the hole and the rocks (mess) currently reside) Just wondering if I am on the right track.

My back is so sore. 
Thanks in advance,


another from the viewing bench. 


the area of future phase 2 and hopefully a circluar pool that will then flow toward the viewer.

Thanks in advance,


short on time, was thinking for a day+:

Problem: the stones in the pond are in the middle of the stream.

they need to be placed closer to the waterfall to suit both views. This means they would form a comma that encircles the falls, separates 'space' - etc.
Similar devices are placing a low, very low stone bridge in front of the falls. Moving these stones does many things, too many to mention for the time available.
The stream side stones are similar (too similar) to molars of a herbivore.
Diminish them by placing/imbedding 'current driven' stones in a diagonal with the flow... show the 'force' of the flow.

the last photo: the vertical stone needs to be on top of the stones set beside the vertical stone - but do not know your level of gravel.. just placement...       edzard


First of all, Thank you for responding.
I need to determine which pictures you are making your suggestions for. I apologize if I may have confused anyone. If you are referring to the stone placement in this image I should clarify that except for the tall stone to the left of the waterfall stone and the two on the right, no other stones are currently apply to the design. The other stones were simply there as I am attempting to move things around (thus resulting in my sore back  :-[)


I understand your suggestion on the molar effect with the stream stones. While working on their placement I thought maybe I was being to picky with placement. (Really I was tired and just got sloppy, Gomen Ne) What if I removed a molar ? Would it create a problem ?
Take a look, let me know I will post more pics soon.
Thank you again, Domo Arigato Goziamasu
I appreciate having another person's view 


the stones on the upper pond stream influence the lower ones, actually setting up the lower ones as a response to the upper.
So I would say again that they are in the middle of the stream, which is unusual as they don't 'do' anything except set up equidistant shorelines. That would be difficult to find in nature. The second part to this is that they need to add distance, and so should be perpendicular to their current position and to the primary waterfall.
This horizontal bar then sets up the scale for the stone currently being worked on, the vertical, which needs to be made more massive.

let me put it this way.
That is a wonderfully placid scene. Thats nice. But has no ummph.
(so what makes a design work?)
the karesansui is a vehicle that displays the character of the gardener, from which he can not hide. And here, especially in the foreground the sense of equi-poise needs to be emphasized, which you display in your character (online). ie: when will a tree or a stone be safe or unsafe, when it is tipped to one side? When is it tipped to be deemed dangerously tipped? when is it the comparative message to the main point of the composition?
The vertical passive posture it is currently in, says nothing except 'here'. The back stone setting says the same thing except the stones are reversed ''feeling'.
Therefore, when the stone is tipped - which can not be done & -in another way of seeing should not be tipped, then the only option is to bring it forward by raising it, as it also needs to remain in that location.
This 'movement' the "in your faceness" causes the mind to seek the placid falls behind in the distance.
this is what makes such a composition work.
Here you have two falls doing the same thing. This means they are in the same place. They are however, not in the same place, - they are miles of distance away. Therefore the wilder mountain, deeper forest, further away stone has a more wild appeal, which it does not. Then the only other option left is that the foreground must to be in equi-position (poise), or wilder, more notable positioning, not by location, but by detail. The only detail available is in volume of up (greater/larger/ more massive) or down that will diminish it.. - not too many options left (?) without adding things that could be resolved a simpler way.

the molars, #2.
should be set back as it pushes force (kisei) against the other bank. If it is set back, and then a rising 'whale back' stone is placed rising out of the water to direct the water down the falls, this could be softened.

Again, this depends on the relationship you are or maay not be building with the background, and which is the 'non-balancing' stone that provides the difference to - the ability to see the placidity/serenity of the distant 'want to be there' location.
The other one is the vertical with the edge point fallen off that creates a vertical face in the 'seated' view.
I would keep that one open for further consideration for moving, rotating.. needs more thought, not an easy stone to work with - just not 'best' in both views.

the molars have another option, but I need to think on the overall effect, then how to adjust, if it is feasible.

Photography wise.. why photograph from that vantage?
nothing special - is there? unless the message is 'sameness'..                        edzard
ps.. don't flow toward the viewer unless it is very very wide.. the message is like a pointy object being thrust in your direction, here the volume, as volume of water should be felt, the pressure, will distract people from you and your garden... water volume may be imminent and then pass harmlessly by,.. but never to land at your feet - every animal needs a way out, humans included.. would you build your house in the middle of a flood plain?


If the river stone was placed more downstream toward the falls, and if that area were a bit wider, it would serve as the "mizu-waki" or water-parting stone.  In that case, it could be placed centrally, although not dead middle.


though Don.. would that not reduce/obviate the 'immense' scale of the composition??
- could be I have it all wrong.. shrug.. up to Patch the Author.. his garden.


Edzard and Don,
O.K. whoa. now my head is hurting.   :D. I need to post more pics. The following pics with letters and arrows may help with the explanations.   


The above pic is to show the direction of force for those particular stones. (maybe helpful, maybe not)

The upper falls and the gravel area just below was designed as such as I thought it would draw the eye to the openness of the horizontal plane and the surrounding waterfall formation and the plantings. The flow of the stream would then take the viewer to The other point of interest being the pond and pooling area ( area still under construction). There I was planning on a circular pool that would then continue on and flow off either between stepping stones or under a stone bridge. The stream would end by vanishing beneath a second crossing stone.
When refering to the stones being in the middle of the stream, should the stones not have contact with the gravel?  Are they too far into the flow of the gravel ? Do I need larger stones? Perhaps smaller?  As you can tell by now I do want Umph.

One more pic with reference markers.     


Gentlemen you are the best.
One could never get such honest opinions from any book. 
Also FYI, I had to add a significant amount of soil to that corner to get the elevation where it is now. Not sure If I could get it much higher. 

Thanks again, Patch



Patch, you will get used to banter between all of us as we play around with the options.  In fact, it can be pretty interesting in its own! 

Edzard, I see your point as scale illusion is particularly important in Patch's project, and mizu-waki, dynamic in the currents of real flow, would become distracting in the symbolic flow of scale here.


force/kisei, is not only in stone, it is also in the compression of the shape of the pond or stream. In this case the stream compresses - pushes force against the opposing shore just prior to the waterfall - third stone left from B. This stone compresses the shore unnaturally for proper scale. It is half a stream half a lake.. mixed message.. which is it? stream or lake?

Stone B needs to have force not applied as it is. The view (to me) should be down-the-lake/stream, not up and across left. Any V created in a view is suddenly a feature. the eyes stop there. it is like this | instead of <-

what the stones C do (or should do in this composition) is create a circular movement of force that holds the setting of the D stone with F as separate and at a different location emotively. The viewer is allowed to decide where.
This leaves the central portion placid.
Yet in your current composition, the multi-directions confuse.

Then E is the same inclination as D = which is why the two locations are deemed (by me) to be the same location. They need to be different.
If there is no uuumph, then the stone E needs to be reclining so that the water no partially pours over it, which would place the location at 'there' and the distant water/mountain stone D/F is 'far over there', but this will now have more uumph/force and the eyes moved to there, but the mind 'activated'.
You must decide in your setting what is to happen, as the movement of the mid-view/side view is too confusing, which is verified by the 'inline' setting.
remember that any constriction or two points moving together - in any plane of view - is still a line(s) of force, and thereby cause heightened awareness.
(method of connecting locations - or disconnecting - and currently are connected through the E duplicate D inclination = this is shakkei on a close scale btw - the method of bringing in a view)
   makes more sense??            (-- Don...? thoughts??)                    edzard