Japan is commonly associated with minimalism, tea, red and white, but recently, Japanese gardens are becoming very popular and now can be found all over the world.
Japanese gardens are excellent for clean line admirers and for everyone who wants to alleviate gardening experience to a new level.
Traditional Japanese garden evolved from a Chinese garden. The central philosophy of these gardens is that nature should be molded by humans. While in French gardens you’ll find artificial fountains and waterfalls, in Japanese gardens, however, you will find only naturally shaped watercourses.
These unique gardens are subtle, simple looking but also very complex. It is considered to be only for master gardeners, due to its complicity and connection with philosophy.
We will try to introduce you the basics of Japanese gardens and help you in establishing your own.
Philosophy of the Japanese garden is to display nature in its most raw and intact form which is meant to provide spiritual peace, serenity, happiness, and balance.
This is achieved by combining three basic elements of nature: water, rocks, and plants. There is no need for unnecessary decorations; nature is sufficient for itself.
For decorating purposes, you must use only rocks and stones, because in Japanese culture it is believed that rock has spirit and consciousness.
Water must be free of any human interruptions; do not use fountains and similar decorations. Small lakes and streams are basic water surfaces that often contain vivid flora and fauna.
Plants are sacred; they are shaped in a delicate and gentle way. Remember that sophisticated bonsai tree? They are crucial in every Japanese garden.
Types of Japanese gardens
There are three types of Japanese gardens: Karesansui, Tsukiyama and Chainwa, or sand, water and moss garden.
Your Japanese garden can be combination of these three types, as long as you keep the purpose of the garden – Zen.
Knowing all this information, you can start forming your Zen garden. Large elements should be placed first around water surfaces, accompanied by plants. Along the garden, try to incorporate curved paths with moss and tall shrubs, so you’ll be surprised when you see a small pond or creek behind every corner.
As for the plants, Asian sorts are the best option. Choose long-living plants with interesting leaf texture: ferns, oriental grass, begonias… Suitable trees are bamboo, pine tree and ilex crenata. Enrich lakes and ponds with green moss and water lily.
Keep it simple and organized, because it is all about the balance.
Japanese garden is a real work of art; it takes a lot of time and effort, but the end result is worth it. Not only will you have a garden that brings you the sense of peace and quiet, but you will have experienced Japanese history which gives your garden a higher purpose.