Japanese gardens strive to create miniature replicas of nature itself. This practice is a highly regarded form of art in Japan. From interactive bonsai gardens to amazing all-natural scenery, there are a number of different ways to integrate an oriental influence into the outdoors.
Types of Japanese Gardens• Tea gardens are one of the most popular types of Japanese landscape designs and are ideal for small spaces. These inspirational gardens combine informal and formal styles, beginning with a charming outer garden that brings guests through the gate to an inner garden surrounding the ceremonious tea hut.
• Japanese stroll gardensare popular designs for expansive yards as well, often blending several Japanese garden types into the space. Rambling pathways meander throughout these gardens, allowing guests to admire the remarkable, small-scale replicas of nature.
• Zen gardens are another example of traditional Japanese landscape design and are also designed to be viewed rather than used. Highly symbolic, Zen gardens are primarily compromised of a variety of rocks and raked gravel to represent water and islands and may include a small selection of trees and shrubs.
Elements of a Japanese GardenAlthough there are many different types of Japanese gardens, the elements within each style are very similar. Water is represented in every Asian garden and may be a natural pond, a trickling stream, an exotic koi pond, or can be symbolized by fine sand, smooth pebbles, or gravel. Fountains are not seen in Japanese landscape designs but natural water features are abundant.
Stones are typically part of a Zen garden, can be used to construct foot paths ands walls, and may be used to create simple waterfalls.
Elegant stone lanterns are often placed near water features, representing the opposite energies of yin and yang.
Most Japanese style gardens also feature simple fences with inviting gates. Fences may create seclusion and privacy or may just serve as an intriguing border. Whatever the purpose, many oriental gardens use fences and walls in interesting ways, often with pathways and simple foot bridges curving throughout the garden.
Japanese Garden PlantsPlants are a symbolic part of Japanese gardens but are not the most prominent feature of the outdoor space. Subtle colors and pastel hues are common, blending with the serene atmosphere of the oriental style.
Plants typically found within a Japanese garden include:
- The delicate Japanese maple that changes with the seasons and represents the continuous changes in life.
- The hardy black pine, symbolizing stability with its evergreen leaves.
- Low maintenance flowers that provide seasonal color, including azaleas, mums, and peonies.
- Bamboo is usually abundant and may serve as a privacy barrier in various areas of the garden.
- Pines and other trees, like the magnolia and the cherry tree, are also common in Japanese landscape designs.
- Carefully trained bonsai plants that capture the beauty of nature on a smaller scale.