The inspiration for Hon Non Bo comes from the real world and from cultural beliefs. Making a modern day Hon Non Bo builds on and continues a long tradition of interest in and the belief of the power of rocks and the beauty of mountains and plants. Throughout Vietnamese history, Hon Non Bo have been built by emperors, kings, generals, and other important people as monuments, decorations, personal vistas, and cultural icons.
In Hon Non Bo, the rocks are arranged always to look like a mountain or a range of mountains and have features that make it different from other forms of living art. Hon Non Bo are designed to be seen from all sides so the mountain must look good not just from four sides but also from the top.