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You cannot design a true Zen garden any more than you can set out rules to be spontaneous. Like many aspects of Zen it comes from an instantaneous appreciation of the whole. The Zen approach would be to contemplate the location where you suspect a garden might be situated, until you can see it in your mind, then place the plants, rocks and sand where the plants, rocks, and sand exist in your vision of the garden.

Alternately you can build a Western interpretation of a Zen garden (see link) which will have the appearance of the garden without the spirit of it.

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Q: How do you design a Japanese Zen garden?
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