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    Thread: Creative Zen in San Marino -Karesansui

    1. #1
      vincesamara is offline Supporting Member
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      Creative Zen in San Marino -Karesansui

      First of all let me say thank you for Koiphen moderators to create this awesome section for us so called "pro" who are doing it for living and perhaps with every bit of passion and delusion to showcase our work.

      This build involves no pond. But doesnt mean the element of water is absent from the garden. Karesansui or "dry" garden uses gravel/sand to symbolize the ocean, moss and rocks to mimic the coast and mountains. It may be simple and minimal but there are rules to follow in creating Zen. The result of that is producing silence and calming the mind who enters the garden.

      It began with this. The owner had problem with racoon flipping the newly installed sod.


      So we came up with a few designs and agreed with this one



      Here is the initial design that we started on youtube.

      http://youtu.be/g2Lvz_AJJtc
      Last edited by vincesamara; 03-03-2016 at 02:25 AM.



    2. #2
      vincesamara is offline Supporting Member
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      So demolation began. Me, Armando and a skidsteer did it in 2 days.







      Total 5 tons of concrete and red bricks were excavated.



      Clean slate, sort of.




    3. #3
      vincesamara is offline Supporting Member
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      The owner's wife were scheduled to leave out of the country for a month. So she requested if We can buy and place the boulder right away so she can see them placed and orientated to her liking. I knew that this would make the job harder and added more cost. I'd normally place boulders after grading and contouring is done. But knowing that this is very important for her I had to make it happen.







      Me on top of one ton rock.



      So then we moved on to forming the concrete retaining wall. The wall measures 2 feet high and 8 inch thick with an "S" shape. Originally this would be a monolithic pour for the wall and floor, but the owner had just contracted a solar company and they require to run conduit between the garage and the house, so the floor has to be done at the last stage.





      Getting down the curved form.







      My recovery drink




    4. #4
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      Creative Zen in San Marino -Karesansui

      I had to search for a "moss dealer" since my local bonsai nursery cannot provide me with 400 sqft of kyoto moss that I'd normally used. I found a guy in North Carolina that does moss, only moss! His name is David from Moss and stone garden, look him up, he is super cool and knows his moss! There are quite few articles that he wrote to give you idea what a moss is all about.
      http://www.mossandstonegardens.com

      So on day 9th the moss arrived.







      Since grading wasnt done yet, waiting for the concrete to cured, I had to unpack the moss and lay them on the ground to keep them ready.

      It took me a day to excavate 6" of soil and moved them to the wall to create the hills and mountain side. And placed the last 3 small boulder on top.

      Mean time, I had socal pavers came and install the brick border and landing pad in front of the deck. This guys were fast.



      So the ground was graded, weed barrier installed, DG placed, the mountain was created and sprinklers were laid, here came the moss.













      Here was the karesansui looked before the gravel



      Last edited by vincesamara; 03-03-2016 at 05:14 PM.



    5. #5
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      Creative Zen in San Marino -Karesansui



      I had to use my truck bed to haul the gravel. I cannot find any dump trailler available for rent near by. I hate this because it created a mess of my truck.



      I purchased my rocks and gravel from Sun Burst in Irwindale. They carry all sort of decorative rocks.
      And they are all nice people except the loader driver who always give me a stink eye everytime I ask him to pull out a ton of particular border out of the back pile and decided not to take it because it doesnt look good. Hey, its gotta look good or I wont buy it!



      So Bernie (my supposedly helper of the day) decided to call sick, I think he did it on purpose. I had no one to help me to unload this thing, and no skidsteer loader. So wth! I did 3 truck load of this thing, total of 6 cuyd, by myself. Never will again!

      3 truck load equals 3 of this



      But so worth it.





      No karesansui can be done without a custom rake. Regular garden rake or golf bunker rake wont do the job. The bigger the gravel the bigger the rake gap you will need. So trying to find one for sale is almost impossible.
      Giving a karesansui without a rake is like giving you a cake but you cannot eat it.
      So i had to fabricated one, out of a broom and 2x4







      So here is the almost complete karesansui





      The project is pretty much done. I am still waiting for the solar company to back fill the trench so I can pour concrete on the pathway floor.

      I enjoy working this project. Simply because the owner is a great person to work with and the planning and execution was pretty much flawless.

      Thank you for reading. I hope this post entertained your curious mind and raised few questions.

      Cheers!
      V. Samara
      Last edited by vincesamara; 03-03-2016 at 02:36 AM.



    6. #6
      koisan's Avatar
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      Very nice, Vince. Great job!

    7. #7
      Sweetwater is offline Supporting Member
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      Nice job Vince!

    8. #8
      rainblood's Avatar
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      Nice.
      How hard is it to keep moss alive?
      -Rain

      :I CAN'T BRING THIS SHIP INTO TRTUGA ALL BY ME ONESIES, SAVVY?:

    9. #9
      tsippel is offline Senior Member
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      where is the pond

    10. #10
      vincesamara is offline Supporting Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by rainblood View Post
      Nice.
      How hard is it to keep moss alive?
      Moss is considered very hardy. They only require 2 most basic element, light and water to thrive. Moss has no roots, so they could care less where you place them as long as the surface is stable and undisturbed, thats why you see them on rocks, woods, etc.
      Once they are established on their new ground, moss can be drought resistant. Just the first 3 months, moss requires high frequency of shallow watering (like misting) to speed up the settlement process. Heavy watering is not advised.



    11. #11
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      Quote Originally Posted by tsippel View Post
      where is the pond
      Nada



    12. #12
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      Very nice!


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    13. #13
      vincesamara is offline Supporting Member
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      Gracias muchachos!



    14. #14
      koi4u2c is offline Senior Member
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      Thanks for sharing your pictures.

      Moss grows around my yard near the woods, but I thought it was too hot for it in San Marino. Here it usually grows in moist shady areas and most frequently on the north side of trees and buildings.
      Last edited by koi4u2c; 03-03-2016 at 09:26 PM.
      Nancy



    15. #15
      icu2's Avatar
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      In Washington moss grows on everything. And doesn't require mowing like grass.
      I love the custom rake! Beautiful landscaping.
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company." --George Washington

    16. #16
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      Creative Zen in San Marino -Karesansui

      Quote Originally Posted by koi4u2c View Post
      Thanks for sharing your pictures.

      Moss grows around my yard near the woods, but I thought it was too hot for it in San Marino. Here it usually grows in moist shady areas and most frequently on the north side of trees and buildings.
      Your keyword there is "moist". Without water, moss will go dormant, not die. Without light, moss will also go dormant, not die.
      In hot and full sun section, frequent misting is recommended. But it must be already established to its new place.

      Misting uses minimal water. Misting is very effective for moss. You dont want to soak the ground, they dont have roots!!! And they dont like to be drowned in water.

      We use mist sprinkler system for this garden. Mist long enough where the ground underneath is not soaking wet.

      Generally people think moss can only thrive in shadow area. Thats somewhat true because shadow area keeps moisture longer. But if you keep sunny area moist, moss keeps growing. Unless if you want them dormant and safe water, mist infrequent.

      What happen to moss if you dont water them at all for a long period of time? Again, they go dormant, they get lighter and brown, easily to be blown by the wind, or your gardener in our case.
      In this build, if you look closely, i have installed black pond netting over the moss. The net helps anchoring the moss down until they reestablish themselves. The net also helps the moss from getting blown by the wind if any chance they dont get enough moisture.

      I hope you get my drift.
      Last edited by vincesamara; 03-03-2016 at 10:19 PM.



    17. #17
      vincesamara is offline Supporting Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      In Washington moss grows on everything. And doesn't require mowing like grass.
      I love the custom rake! Beautiful landscaping.
      Thanks Steve.



    18. #18
      OCkoiFan's Avatar
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      Very nice... I hope you leave the custom rake for them in case dogs, or gardeners screw up the lines.
      M.Nguyen


    19. #19
      vincesamara is offline Supporting Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by OCkoiFan View Post
      Very nice... I hope you leave the custom rake for them in case dogs, or gardeners screw up the lines.
      Lol, I made those rakes as gift for him. He was ecstatic. It was a small gesture I could give to return his generousity.



    20. #20
      Mark Anderson's Avatar
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      Great job, very artistic. That beer looks good especially after moving all that stone by yourself! Now one question.....how do you keep those pesky raccoons from flipping the moss?

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