Sakuteiki is most likely the oldest garden planning text in the world. It was written in the mid-to-late 11th century. During the Kamakura period, it was referred to as the Senzai Hisshō, or the Secret Selection on Gardens before it acquired the title Sakuteiki in the Edo period.
The unillustrated Sakuteiki is the first systematic record of the styles of gardening in the Heian period, which had been the product of oral tradition for many years. It precisely defines the art of landscape gardening as an aesthetic endeavor based on poetic feeling of the designer and the site. It enumerates five styles of gardening, including
The Sakuteiki was written in a time during which the placing of stones was the most important part of gardening, and it literally defined the art of garden making, using the expression ishi wo tateru koto to mean not only stone placement but garden making itself. It advises the reader not only how to place the stones but also how to follow the "desire" of the stones.