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Creating a Japanese Inspired Garden

History demonstrates that the Japanese honoured a tradition for creating gardens that capture the natural landscape. They take the basic elements of plants, water and stone, and combine it with minimalistic clean lines. This was originally created with the purpose of having a place for peace in times of war and strife.

When designing a Japanese inspired garden, the aim is to create an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity. It should capture the essence of nature and become a place for people to restore their inner harmony.

How to Begin Creating a Japanese Inspired Garden

The first thing is to start with authenticity. In most Japanese gardens, the design is laid out, so it can be viewed in its entirety from the house or teahouse. It should be raised slightly above the ground in order to be seen. The idea of a Japanese garden is for you to soak it in completely, from the sight to the scents and sounds.

Winding stone paths are placed as a representation for the journey through life and the excitement of what is to come. These stones should take you through the garden. Some small gardens have winding paths that disappear into a shrub border. This creates the illusion that you are being taken into a woodland glade.

What Should I Plant?

The first thing to make note of is that Japanese gardens rely on subtle differences in colour and texture. Bamboo and Conifers in relaxing green shades can be planted for year-round interest. Trees can be pruned into shapes for architectural purposes. A rather common feature is to have branches arching and reaching over moss and groundcover. This is then reflected in a pool of still water.

A bonsai tree holds representation for the Japanese. It represents a fusion of ancient beliefs with Eastern philosophies surrounding the harmony between man, the soul, and the nature around us. These small trees are grown in ceramic containers and are then pruned and trained to mimic aged, mature, tall trees in nature.

You can use azaleas, camellias and maples with restraint. The sole purpose of these plants is to mark the changing seasons. A single cherry tree is used to mark the beginning of spring, azaleas are potted for early summer, and the fiery foliage of a maple is used to mark the beginning of autumn.

Water plays a significant role in Japanese gardens. They are often crossed by a zigzag bridge. According to a legend, the bridge is supposed to protect you from evil spirits as they can only travel in a straight line. The bridge is designed to trap them, allowing you to escape to safety.

Choosing ornaments for a Japanese Inspired Garden

Though it is a staple for Japanese gardens, stone lanterns that are shaped as pagodas and rain chains should be used sparingly throughout the garden. If you would like to add a pleasing musical note to the tranquil design, you may want to consider adding a deer scarer. This is a bamboo pipe that is on a pivot. When filled with water, it drops down to make a clacking noise. The tone of this note will depend on the size of the pipe.

Tending to a Japanese Inspired Garden

It is important that gardens like this are tended to no a regular basis, so if you are designing for a client who may not have the time or anyone who can tend to it on their behalf, this design may not be suitable. Saying that taking the Buddhist Zen approach can make it easier to handle.

You can use ferns and evergreen plants in various shades of green. These are key colours. Add silvery-grey sand that is raked to appear like ripples of waves in pools of water. You can also use standing stones to represent islands and mountains. This is conducive to meditation.

Talk to Ladybrook Nursery

With over 13 acres of plants to choose from, Ladybrook Nursery is here for your landscaping needs. Whether it be Japanese inspired or a simply British garden, we have plenty of options to accommodate what you are looking for. Get in touch to find out more.

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