Rocks are an essential element to Japanese-inspired gardens. River rocks and gravel are the most common types of rock used. Small river rocks can rest underfoot as your pathways. Larger rocks can be arranged and stacked pretty much anywhere in your garden. Like all aspects of the Japanese garden, minimalism is important. So don't overdo it with the rock arrangements; they should be sparse and eye-catching. A raised bed with some well-placed rocks and plants can make for a great garden centerpiece. If you have a sand garden, the gravel is meant to represent the ocean, and the river rocks symbolize the islands of Japan. They can also represent a mother tiger and her cubs. When placing your rock garden, try to keep with Japanese tradition and have it face directly north and south.