Today, we will continue with our design for the small residential Japanese garden that we started in the last post.
In that post we completed the design for the ground plane. So now we can turn our attention to the vertical elements of the garden. We will add the following elements to our design in the next few posts:
- Ground cover plants
- Water feature
If we go back to my post Japanese garden for a small yard, I identified seven ideas to remember when creating a successful residential Japanese garden.
- Imply nature
- Connect the inside with the outside
- Are scaled for people
- Are secluded from the outside world
- Are mostly evergreen
- Have a simple plant palette
- Contain water
We shall consider these principles when filling out our design.
Trees to frame our narrow residential Japanese garden
We begin by looking at the above principles. We see that implying nature, having evergreen plants and a simple plant palette all apply to selecting trees. So lets start by adding some evergreens to our residential Japanese garden design.
Let me point out that ALL of these evergreen trees will need to be pruned. Otherwise, they will overgrow the garden. The good news is that if it is done every year, it does not have to be too big of a job. This is a Japanese garden design and it will require maintenance and aesthetic pruning. This can be an enjoyable pursuit. It can actually add to enjoyment of your garden.
The first evergreen tree we will add will be a native to a large portion of the US, the Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). This is a fine textured evergreen. It is slower growing but will require annual pruning.
If you want a smaller tree that would not require as much pruning or have Hemlock Woolly Adelgid prevelant in your area, you could use a Nootka Falsecypress (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) instead.
There are lots of weeping varieties available. However, the straight species or the cultivar Sullivan (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis “‘Sullivan’) would be better for this design.
Here is how our design would look with a couple of these trees added. Note you can click on my images and you will go to a larger view of it. To return to this page just hit the “Back” button on your web browser.
The 2nd tree we will add will also be an evergreen. This time it won’t be a native tree. It is an evergreen that looks great in the winter when it’s purple colored cones add color to the landscape. This tree is the Korean Fir (Abies koreana).
Here is how the design would look with two of these trees added.
Specimen tree to show the change of the seasons
While we do want to add mostly evergreens, we also want to imply nature in our designs. One of the most basic facts of nature (at least here in the Midwestern US) is the change of the seasons. Spring changes to Summer to Fall to Winter. Having plants that signal these changing seasons is one of the joys of having a garden.
In Japanese gardens, the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is one of the plants that do this well. While Japanese maples are frequently used in gardens in the US, it is usually a purple leafed form, such as the cultivar Bloodgood (Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’).
The purple leaf form are certainly fine trees. I have several in my yard myself. In this design we are trying to create a more natural looking effect. We will therefore use a green leaf form as it looks more natural.
If we were in zone four or colder we would want a hardier tree such as the Korean Maple (Acer pseudosieboldianum). While the Korean maple is not quite as graceful as the Japanese maple, it is more cold hardy and has a very nice Fall color display.
In our design we will just use a regular green Japanese maple. Here is how it would look added to our design.
Native tree choices for our residential Japanese garden
If instead of a Japanese maple, we wanted a tree native to the US, we could use any number of medium growing ones with a good seasonal display. Some trees with good multi seasonal interest include the Redbud (Cercis canadensis), American Smoketree (Cotinus obovatus), and Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida).
In the next post, we will add the rest of the trees and the shrubs for this residential Japanese garden design. If you liked this post please share it. You can click the appropriate button below to do that.