July 14, 2023
How to Make a Japanese Garden

How to Make a Japanese Garden

If you’ve ever wished to create a Japanese garden for yourself, there are a few things you should know. These gardens can be an enlightening experience that combines raw materials and meditation. They require a good amount of work and raw materials, but are well worth the effort.

Kohei Owatari’s unique style

If you’re interested in the traditional Japanese garden, you might be interested in learning about Kohei Owatari’s design process. He’s one of the most prominent experts on Japanese gardening, having built a tea house garden at the Zen Center in San Francisco. Although he’s based in California, he occasionally holds classes on the Peninsula.

The style of a Japanese garden should contain elements that reflect nature. Some examples of this include the placement of small islands. These islands can represent oceans or mountain ranges. In addition, Kohei recommends using muted colors. Lighter boulders reflect sunlight and may not be as aesthetically pleasing. Also, angular boulders are more effective in representing the mountains that are a part of Japanese landscaping.

After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, many of the gardens still remained. Some, however, had been ruined by modern progress. In 1873, the establishment of public gardens was encouraged. However, Western style gardens made very little progress in Japan. Nevertheless, the 1923 great earthquake and fire demonstrated the utilitarian value of gardens in Japan.

In the Edo and Heian periods, Japanese gardens began borrowing their design ideas from Chinese gardens. This style of garden-making was influenced by the teachings of eminent Zen priests. As a result, they were modeled on Chinese gardens, but they had distinct differences.

While there are many different types of chisen-style gardens, a tea garden is the most traditional. This is the most popular style of Japanese garden making. In addition to the formal garden, there is an outdoor area with beautiful, flowing water. Visitors can enjoy strolling along the grounds. A special section of the garden is designated for tea ceremonies.

Plants used in traditional Japanese gardens

Traditional Japanese gardens are characterized by a variety of plants. Bamboo is one of the essential elements in these landscapes. Its short cone-shaped leaves are delicate and add depth to the Japanese aesthetic. This plant is also a low-maintenance choice and comes in a variety of varieties. Some varieties have yellow or drooping foliage, while others are compact and have short, upright branches.

One of the most important plants in a traditional Japanese garden is the azalea, which comes in a wide variety of hues and shapes. Its leaves can be pruned neatly or allowed to spread out and cover the ground. This plant is essential to creating an authentic Japanese garden, but is also sensitive to soil conditions. Azaleas do best in neutral or acid soil, so you may want to consider planting other plants in their place, such as Japanese quince and heavenly bamboo.

Another popular tree is the Japanese white oak, or shirakashi. This tree provides shade and acts as a privacy screen. Its branches are sometimes thinned using a method called chirashi, which removes leaves and branches without affecting the overall appearance of the tree. The cycad, or sago palm, is also common in Japanese gardens. It is commonly seen at large gardens in southern Japan, such as Senshu-kaku in Tokushima, and Ritsurin-koen in Takamatsu.

Japanese gardens strive to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. To achieve this, the design should be harmonious and have proportion. Changes in size or mood should be gradual, and contrasting materials should be used sparingly.

Stone lanterns

When you’re looking to make a beautiful entrance to your Japanese garden, you can use stone lanterns. These lanterns are made with many parts that must be carefully stacked together. The most popular style is the Kasuga lantern, which is one of the most well-known lanterns in Japan.

This style has a concave or convex roof and features a belt or other embellishment. Some lanterns are built to be stationary; others are portable and moveable. They are often decorated with peonies and carved deer. This style of lantern is very popular in the Japanese garden.

Stone lanterns have a rich history in Japan. They originated as votives in Shinto temples and later became practical light sources. They were largely used in religious communities until the 16th century. However, they soon gained popularity among secular communities. They were also used in tea gardens, as the drink has a great symbolic value in Japan.

Bronze lanterns are also popular in Japan, although they’re less common. Bronze lanterns are usually divided into five sections, which represent the five elements of Buddhist cosmology. Some bronze lanterns have been designated by the Japanese government as Cultural Properties of Japan. For example, a bronze lantern in front of Todai-ji’s Daibutsuden is a National Treasure. Another type of stone lantern is known as a kiso, a hexagonal or rounded piece of rock.

When it comes to lanterns, the Japanese use votive lanterns in their gardens as a way to illuminate the garden. These lanterns not only provide illumination, but also protect the flames of candles within them. These lanterns also add a magical quality to a garden.


Ponds in a Japanese garden often symbolize the ocean. Moreover, they are often accompanied by manmade peninsulas, thereby lending a more refined touch to the watery landscape. Although these features are often difficult to achieve in small garden ponds, they add a sense of balance and harmony to the otherwise drier landscape.

There are various ways to create islands in a pond, including using a plank bridge. This is believed to ward off evil spirits, while also enhancing the landscape’s appearance. This design feature can also prevent the visitor from seeing the whole pond, thus enhancing the illusion of spaciousness. In addition to this, islands can also symbolize the Shinsen thinking that was popular in ancient China. The Shinsen philosophy proposed three mythical island utopias. These islands are usually surrounded by a variety of plants and flowers, including cranes, turtles, irises, and ginkgo biloba.

In addition to incorporating ponds in a Japanese garden, there are many other ways to create water bodies. For example, a water garden can be constructed with gravel or moss to create a tranquil oasis. In addition to creating a tranquil environment, a pond in a Japanese garden may also serve a practical purpose such as serving as a place for washing.

Ponds in a Japanese garden can also serve as focal points. These focal points not only allow water to flow through the garden, but also provide a gentle current that promotes oxygen flow, temperature regulation, and nutrient cycling. The sound of falling water also creates a calming effect. This effect is thought to reduce stress.

Stone borders

Stone borders in a Japanese garden are a beautiful way to add visual interest. Adding stones in your garden will also help you to create a meditative setting. There are many different types of plants you can use in your Japanese garden, from bamboo to cherry blossoms. Japanese gardens often include a water feature that will create a relaxing ambiance. In addition, water features can be used as a way to attract wildlife. One of the more common water features in Japanese gardens is a bamboo water feature known as a shishi odoshi. While originally created to scare away deer, today they are thought to be calming and beautiful.

Another way to create a Japanese garden border is to use crushed rock, also known as gravel. This can be used along pathways or to cover larger areas. The stones can also create a ripple effect, which is popular in Japanese gardens. As far as plants are concerned, pine trees are one of the most recommended plants for Japanese gardens, especially for their irregular shape.

Another popular plant in a Japanese garden is the Japanese maple. These small to medium-sized trees provide bold colour throughout the summer and autumn. They are one of the four main actors in a Japanese garden. Acer shirasawanum ‘Jordan’, for instance, has orange-yellow leaves in spring and deep red in winter. It is a great plant to grow near a small patio or gazebo.

The rocks in a Japanese garden have a symbolic function, representing mountains and islands. You can place rough rocks near water features, while smooth rocks are used as stepping stones. They will weather naturally over time, which will add a touch of age and beauty to your garden.

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