10 Japanese-style Gardens


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Flat Sea Gardens

The sand around these stones is raked to symbolize waves in this flat sea garden.
The sand around these stones is raked to symbolize waves in this flat sea garden.
Micha Pawlitzki/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

In stark contrast to the profusion of green in natural gardens and the abundance of water in strolling pond gardens, flat sea gardens actually feature no water and little vegetation, save for the characteristic black pines that serve as their backdrop.

The "sea" here is made of a wide expanse of sand or fine gravel, which is raked to suggest a pattern of waves on a shoreline. Unlike raking leaves, where the goal is to collect piles, the point here is to comb through the sand or gravel to create a peaceful pattern. To add to the appearance of a vast sea, flat sea gardens possess shorelines of stones and boulders, as well as islands of vegetation. Like several other gardens on this list, benches are placed at particular points throughout the space for contemplation and rest.