I conducted a survey of the property to determine the best site to build the Smiley Zen Garden.
The land is on a hill that borders two Connecticut state parks, Squantz Pond State Park on the East and North and Pootatuck State Forest on the West. Basically, the property is an island penisula surrounded by these two parks. Note, the property is not totally shown, only the relevant areas.
The terrain grades fairly steep downwards from the top of the hill on the West towards the pond on the East. Therefore, the first criteria was to find a level enough site to minimize the amount of escavation work. I wanted the Smiley Zen Garden to be level so that the image will come close to a true circle, and not be skewed by a slope. Also, the garden needed to be level because I wanted the pebbles to more or less stay in place even during strong winds and heavy rains. This is especially important in Zen rock gardens where you don’t want the grooves formed by raking the pebbles to move during water runoff when it rains.
Secondly, the site had to be relative free of trees. The land is in a heavily wooded area which made this more challenging because I wanted to minimize the number of trees that would need to be cut and rooted. Also, the surrounding area also needed to be clear of trees so that Smiley would not be obstructed above for the satellite imagery.
And lastly, the site needed to be reasonably large. It had to fit a 50 feet diameter circle plus about a 10 feet border to comfortably view it from the ground.
After reviewing a few potential sites, I decided the best place would be the somewhat open area North East of the Igloo and pool. A close-up of the proposed site is shown below. The blue circle indicates approximately where the Smiley Zen Garden would be.
This last picture is quite interesting. It was taken off Google Maps using the satellite view. After the project is complete and Google updates their satellite and terrain imagery for this area, this will be about the size of the Smiley you will see.