want to design a Japanese Garden -
Well, what is it you really want?
Is it a true to period Japanese structure,
with Mount Fuji in the background!...
or an impression of style, elegance,
and serenity? Needless to say, we like
the latter idea.
We like the idea of dabbling in other
cultues...it's nice to take a little
of their style and apply it to our own
existences. The Japanese style garden
is likable because of its serenity,
simplicity, and easy maintenance. Japanese
gardens they have a style that immediately
says something about their creators,
and they are not overpowering.
Without going into too much detail
and history, the Japanese garden makes
artistic use of plants and trees, of
rocks, sand, artificial hills (optional),
and most always ponds, and flowing water.
In contrast to the geometrically arranged
trees and rocks of a Western-stvle garden,
the Japanese garden traditionally creates
a scenic composition that mimics nature,
as artfully as possible.
Your Japanese Garden
When considering a location for a Japanese
garden you will no doubt be constrained
by the type of area you have - you may
be really lucky and have unlimited area
in which to create your garden sanctuary,
but generally, most of us are not that
lucky. A popular spot to build a water
garden is in the back yard, near a deck
or other sitting areas.
Perhaps the simplist way to get started
with planning a Japanese garden is to
build the garden around a water
feature: a garden pond or container
water garden if there isn't enough
room. if you choose a pond, keep it
on the smaller side, and keep it simple.
First, pick a spot spot for your water
feature and then build
a garden pond (or have one built)
or create a container water garden.
Keep in mind that moving water is part
of the Japanese garden style. Integrate
a small waterfall to add the soothing
sound of moving water in your garden
Place plants and other items around
it - maybe enclose the area with a fence,
hedge or screen planting?
Look for unusual items that will be
placed in our Japanese garden. Answer
these basic questions:
- Will there be fish in the garden?
Will they be humble goldfish that
will only require a small pond or
other water feature, or expensive
Koi that will require a larger body
- Will there be a wooden bridge over
your pond or over a stream that connects
- Dining area? A parasol or umbrella
- Sitting area?
- Does the site provide easy access
for bringing in boulders and other
materials? If not, then consider using
smaller, one or two man boulders verses
ones that way a ton or two.
- Is there a need for privacy? If
so, will a wooden fence or bamboo
screen be used, or plants?
Then review these other items for consideration:
- Furniture - dining, parasols, benches,
lounge chairs, chairs
- Wooden bridge
- Stones for path(s) or patio - should
be real stone
- Boulders/Rocks - should be real
Plants for the
- Japanese maples
- Ornamental Grasses
Garden Plant & Tree Listing
and Don'ts of Japanese Gardening
- Overplant - Japanese planting is
sparse. We Americans live in a microwave
society where we want instant gratification.
We tend to want to plant too many
plants in a given area. This is not
the way things work in the world of
Japanese gardening. Resist, resist,
leave space. Make every plant, boulder,
or item a specimen that stands on
its own. Groundcovers will be the
only repetitive theme in the garden.
- Unfortunatley most varieties of
bamboo are illegal to sell in Georgia.
Many bamboos are highly invasive and
very difficult to eliminate once established.
If you do incorporate bamboo into
your garden area do not overuse it.
Plant it in steel or iron tubs as
either a sparce vertical accent or
low grassy square. An alternative
would be to use dried bamboo as a
screen or partition.
- Use plenty of rock - We rarely incorporate
enough rock into the landscape. However,
small bolders, riverstone, eggrock,
and peqa gravel will give punctuation
to the plants.
Japanese gardens are very important
to the Japanese. All of the gardens
are representations of nature. The purpose
of these gardens is to capture nature
in the utmost natural way, and do it
with a touch of artistic feeling. Japanese
gardens are built for endurance and
to withstand and harmonise with the
typically wet weather of Japan.
As mentioned, the essential elements
to a Japanese garden - water, garden
plants, stones, waterfalls, trees, and
bridges - create this symbolism.
Trees and plants give the Japanese
garden its unique character. The Japanese
garden is predominately green with its
almost exclusive use of evergreen trees
- with the exception of Japanese Maples.
When flowering trees are found in the
Japanese garden they are usually camelias.
Japanese gardens are mainly stone,
moss-like groundcover, bushes, and trees
- the Japanese use Azaleas for deep
pinks and Cherry trees for pink blossoms
The pine tree, Hinoki or Fernspray
cypress, or an upright natural looking
juniper such as 'Hollywood' (juniper
'Torolusa') stays green during
the whole year and, therefore, symbolizes
youth and longevity. 'Little Gem' magnolia
is another consideration. It is evergreen
and produces fragrant flowers from June
to November. The plum tree or Japanese
Magnolia (Tulip Tree) carries beautiful
blossoms in the spring.
A Japanese garden is a quiet place,
allowing people to look back and reflect
or meditate. In a Japanese garden there
is a respect for nature. The understatement
and simplicity of design add dignity
and grace to Japanese gardens, making
a clean and unique statement. These
gardens give many impressions to those
who appreciate them and they move people
in various ways.
College Website on Japanese Gardens