create a Japanese garden in a small space
Making a Japanese style garden is the dream of many people but is often viewed as too difficult and intricate.
Japanese gardens are reflections of life and come in many forms with vastly differing features. For example some use water, some are flat, some are hilly, others are for walking around and viewing whilst those with a ‘Zen’ feel are hugely popular.
First up, you need to decide what sort of Japanese style garden you would be interested in having at your home then depending on the size of space that you have pick a ‘Theme’ and the ingredients to match.
So, for example if you wanted a gravel and rock garden (sometimes referred to as a Zen garden) and only have a limited amount of space then you would choose smaller gravel and stones to represent islands in a ‘Sea’ of gravel – the gravel symbolises water.
Here is an example for you:
This Japanese garden is beautifully designed. It has the gravel which is raked but contained within a square edge symbolising the sea. The gravel is raked around the stones – they symbolise islands – showing the movement of the water.
Around the edge are a whole host of low level shrubs looking like dwarf forests.
This sort of garden takes a little effort but is not that difficult to do.
Everything has to be in some form of proportion. This garden is a landscape so the stones have to be the right size to give the right aesthetic effect.
It is best with this type of garden to draw a plan and get a real feel as to how it will look.
Something like this, one I did for a small Zen style garden at my home.
It doesn’t matter if you change your final garden from an original plan, it’s important to jot down some ideas and get a feel for how your Japanese garden will look. By knowing the dimensions you will be able to work out how much gravel you will need and how many shrubs or trees you will require to make your design come to life.
Here’s an example of a full plan I drew up for my entire Japanese garden area including my gravel and stone garden.
As you can see the gravel garden is on the far left and a ‘Dry’ water river which is made of stone laid in the right way to show the flow of the river goes up a slight slope to another raised rock garden.
By planning out your Japanese garden it will give you reassurance on your vision and help you see whether what you are planning is feasible or too ambitious or maybe not ambitious enough.
‘Zen’ style gardens are the easiest to create BUT only if you get all the ingredients in direct proportion otherwise it will look out of kilter.
Here is the gravel area ( the Sea) when we dug it out, edged it with granite slabs and laid an anti weed cover.
And here it is from above – if you refer back to the full garden plan above – the hill with the dry river is to the right of the gravel/ sand area meandering ( like a river) through the trees and shrubs.
I did change the sand to bigger gravel as in certain damper climates sand is very difficult to keep pristine and rake in the correct way. Below is a picture of the rocks that I used and the gravel I chose.
The gravel is 10mm in size and to fill this space to a depth of 5 centimetres took around 20 bags. Always buy some spare for repairs and replacement.
You may not be interested in a rock garden and have a dream of a more complicated Japanese garden. Japanese gardens are at one with nature and should always be created to look good in any season.
Trees, plants and shrubs need to be chose carefully. An understanding of a little of the history of Japanese gardens is preferable and well worth spending some time finding out about them.
You have a lot of ingredients to play with – Stones, Rocks, Shrubs, Trees like Azaleas, colourful plants like Camelias, Hosta’s, Bridges,Boundaries, Stone pathways, Stepping stones, Tea house,Bamboo, Lanterns and Ornaments the list goes on.
To make your dream of having a Japanese garden a reality you can seek professional help ( Expensive) or you can rise to the challenge of doing it yourself using your imagination and design skills. The thrill of completing a Japanese garden is memorable and it will last you a lifetime.
Start small and add areas to it as you become more confident and experienced. When you look out of a window and see your garden and the admiring looks it gets from friends and family you will fully appreciate how worthwhile a thing it was to do. A calm stress free haven where you live to relax and enjoy.
We have put together the ULTIMATE package for creating a Japanese garden including a free design book, a classic lecture on types of Japanese gardens and some of their history, 4 audio interviews with experts in the fields of design, Acers / Maples and even Japanese garden photography, A before and after project for you to follow, a Report on Plants, shrubs and Trees in Japanese gardens and an ACTION PLAN to guide you through the process of planning, building and completing your project.
You will love the ingredients and the price – at a special discount for visitors to our website and Facebook page – Creating Japanese Gardens.
Get started today by CLICKING HERE.
Thanks for reading my Japanese Gardens Blog once again.
Water sources in Japanese gardens should appear as natural as possible and blend in with the surroundings. Riverbeds, streams, ponds and larger areas of water are common.
A pond for example has to be natural in shape – if you have a rectangular Koi pond then this would appear out of place in a Japanese garden landscape. Koi and Koi ponds is a very important section of certain types of Japanese gardens.
Fountains do not exists in Japanese gardens, waterfalls yes, but fountains no. They are man made and not ‘natural’ in appearance. Don’t get me wrong I am not ‘fountainist’ it’s just with Japanese gardens there are certain rules that have to be observed. If you really wanted a fountain in a Japanese garden, it’s not a heinous crime but your garden would not be wholly authentic!
Streams– nearly always man-made are a big part of Japanese gardening, they often are built with curves giving them a more natural appearance. The positioning of lanterns is more often than not by streams or ponds within a garden. This represents the female and the male elements of ‘water’ and ‘fire’.
This concept is known in Japanese tradition as YIN and YANG.
Dry water is also very common in Japanese gardens, and they are equally eye catching too.’Dry’ gardens are sometimes referred to as Japanese Rock Gardens but their real name is Karesansui.
Sand and gravel are the principle ingredients and depict ‘wet’ water within an often miniature landscape making this type of garden ideal for indoors and outdoors. Everybody finds water and water features soothing and de-stressing so why not learn how to have your own – simply, cheaply and effectively. You won’t regret it either I can assure you!
To find out more about water as an element of a Japanese garden and the use of ‘dry’ water ( very useful and effective in smaller spaces) take a look at my book – it’s a compendium of everything you need to know about these beautiful gardens and will show you exactly how to have your own STUNNING Japanese garden space at home can be found at http://www.turnyourgardenjapanese.com/book.
Grab your copy by CLICKING HERE it’s perfect for anyone keen on making a Japanese garden.
It has everything you need to get creating a Japanese garden easily and simply explained with plans, video’s and specific projects for Japanese gardens and Zen gardens ( Dry gardens featuring sand, gravel , stones and rocks)
David M Cobb is the world’s foremost photgrapher of Japanese gardens. It’s what he does and he’s very famous for it.
If you haven’t experienced David’s unique talent then take a look at this BLOG entry – he has been out and about photographing a Japanese garden in Spring – one of the most magical times of the year to do so. Enjoy!
Hear Our interview with David HERE
David’s images will hopefully inspire you to think about having your own Japanese garden in a small space! It’s a lot easier than you may think and our free book ’11 Simple Ways To Turn Your Garden Japanese’ will show you exactly how and give you lots of inspiration too!
Here at ‘Turn Your Garden Japanese’ Dot Com we have numerous resources to help you design, create and achieve your dream of a Japanese garden space at home. Our latest is a package, never available before,of interviews on various aspects of Japanese Garden.
Over 1 and a quarter hours of Premium Japanese Gardens Content from 4 experts who love the beauty, simplicity and meaning of every type of Japanese gardens. This kind of help and advice is pretty hard to find unless you want to pay a lot of money! CLICK HERE to find out more.
And because we realise that people like you are busy and on the go. We have put together a package of Japanese garden interviews that you can easily listen to that will give you a great understanding of what Japanese gardens ARE and HOW you can quickly start thinking about creating your own!
- Japanese Garden Design – Anna Barker Discusses One Japanese Garden Project From Start To Finish – We’ve Included a Before and After photo gallery of the project so you can appreciate just what is possible.
- Japanese Garden Maples & Acer’s – Patrick McDaid an expert on the subject gives invaluable tips on a variety of tree that most people see as essential in a Japanese garden.
- Japanese Garden History & Tips – From Jenny Feuerperil one of the planet’s leading experts on the meaning of Japanese gardens,their history and the various styles.
- Japanese Garden Photography – David M Cobb is acknowledged around the world as the best Japanese garden photographer. He has published many books of his work with Japanese gardens and shares his knowledge.
Don’t worry they are not hugely long but they are enormously enlightening and helpful. The TOTAL listening time is just over one and a quarter hours for ALL 4 interviews.You can listen on your laptop,PC, Smartphone or Tablet.
Visit our website to download in a couple of minutes AND we’ve added a fabulous free BONUS too! take a look CLICK HERE
Click on this link to watch our short Slideshow BuildingaJapanesegardeninasmallspacePowerponit_slides
Here’s is our Pinterest page and board for a stunning private Japanese garden in the UK, tucked away out of site but a garden that has taken 30 years to imagine and create – so many beautiful features that are so well thought out.
Take a look by CLICKING HERE
If you are thinking of making a Japanese garden then this garden would be a great one to get some ideas from!
If you ever wondered why a Zen garden is like it is OR what they mean and their historical background then my monthly Podcast should interest you as the latest episode is all about Japanese Zen gardens or Karesansui gardens as they are known in Japan. You can listen to it for free ( of course!) by clicking on the player below:
Zen gardens come in all shapes and sizes but follow very rigid principles.
They can be built in a large or small space and are ideal for meditation. Peaceful sanctuaries in a hurly burly world.
The smallest one that I have seen was actually so tiny that it fitted in an egg shell! Other Zen gardens that you may have seen include the small desktop ones that people like to have to keep them stress free at work for example.
Nice as they may appear it is much better to make a Japanese style garden in a slightly bigger space.
In Zen gardens wooden dowling rakes create swirls and shapes that are used to create the illusion of water in ‘dry’ water lakes and seas usually made of sand or gravel.
Zen gardens typically imitate actual landscapes. You will see from the picture above how the land and ‘sea’ replicate an actual panorama of landscape. Sometimes in Japanese gardening this principle is used and it is called ‘Borrowed scenery’ – the copying of real or for that matter imaginary landscapes.
Got a small area in your yard or a roof terrace? Why not create your own ‘Zen’ space? It’s easier to do than you think!
Our book ’11 Simple Ways To Turn Your Garden Japanese’ will give you lots of inspiration and ideas to really invigorate an unused area in your yard or garden. CLICK HERE to claim your copy today…and of course a big part of it is how to create a stunning Japanese Zen garden!
The ultimate way to create a Japanese garden in a small space!