With the New Year almost upon us, most are reflecting upon changes that they want to make in their lives. This might be to lose weight, start exercising, get a new job, etc. Maybe, this is the year for starting a Japanese garden landscape in your yard. Perhaps you have visited a public Japanese garden. Perhaps you have just seen pictures that have inspired you.
Whatever the reason you have for wanting that feel in your garden, the first step is to plan to what extent you want to go. This depends on what your current garden looks like now and what your budget of time and money is. The following are four levels to consider when starting a Japanese garden landscape.
Starting a Japanese garden landscape from a clear site
If you are building a new home or have a house without a mature landscape, you can do as much as you like to achieve an authentic Japanese garden. You can go as far as your ambition, time and budget can stretch. You could put in ponds, stream, and waterfalls.
You might put in large stones and rock groupings. You may add structures such as a tea house, gazebo, or an arbor. You should put in appropriate plants that reflect the calming effect of nature. This type of endeavor requires careful planning and execution to be most successful. Guidance and assistance from a professional is recommended, even if you decide to do most of the work yourself.
Changing an existing landscape
With a mature landscape, you may have more work to do to change over to a strong Japanese theme. You will have to remove some plants, replace others, and add new ones. You will also have to remove, modify, and add features such as paths, gates, or fences to adapt them to the new style.
Is your lot wooded or backs to a stream? If so, it is possible that you will have less work to do, but for most people it will be more than if you are starting from scratch.
Adding a partial Japanese garden landscape
If you like what you have but want a Japanese garden landscape too, you can landscape an entry, a corner, or perhaps a side yard. An area near a main window that is seen year around is ideal. This type of partial Japanese garden can be a relatively simple project.
It could be installing a water basin with a few plants such as a Japanese maple, some junipers, and a Rhododendron. You may also need to install a hedge or fence to separate the smaller Japanese garden from the rest of your yard depending upon its location.
Giving any garden a Japanese feel
This can be the addition of subtle stone lanterns or rockwork throughout the garden. You could also utilizing subtle Japanese style pruning techniques such as pruning a tree or shrubs to display its basic structure. How about rearranging the plants in your garden to create a more natural scene that showcases seasonal changes?
This usually would be done by removing or moving the plants you already have that seem out of place or are unnatural looking. You could also add plants that do fit in and appear in your garden as they would in nature. An example could be removing plants that would normally grow in a “meadow” setting, such as ornamental grasses, from a “woodland” garden setting.
If you would like help clarifying your goals and plans or actually beginning your garden renovation however large or small it is, and would like my assistance, you can contact me.