Hal's Hat

Hal's Hat

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Japanese gardens: design to reality

Instead of posting a didactic blog on Japanese gardens (here's what not to do, here are the basics, blah blah blah), I'll relate my experience, give you the design and then final pictures from the homeowners. It's summer and fun time- let's not be too serious but give ourselves over to pretty plants, cool breezes and cocktails on the patio (lots of bug spray on our ankles).

My clients here are a wonderfully eclectic pair- kids, grandkids, etc. But they have lived in the past in Japan and harbor a deep love of Japanese gardens. (And who doesn't??) But these two also have the unique experience of actually living in Japan, not just visiting or reading the occasional book. They are also fair gardeners. When you look at the pictures, you'll see that Roger and Sharon are also good craftspeople! They built the pond more than a decade ago (at least 15 years they said), Roger built the Tojo gate, they laid the stepping stones themselves. As well, they installed all the plants and mulch and the extensive drip irrigation system!

First step in the process was speaking with my clients, extensively, about their needs and wants. Who would use this? How would this be enjoyed? What activities are going to be done in the back yard? In their case, as well, they had purchased trees, had the existing pond and a small retaining wall/ berm. The idea was to create a cozy, enclosed and private backyard that minimized some of the outside interference. They also wanted a separation from their small lawn into the garden area with a gate. 
From there, I researched Japanese design elements. I knew many Japanese garden favorites. But it's always important to shift plant choices to the climate and culture of the garden where they will live. Roger and Sharon have a backyard that faces east. 
Important elements for me: rock, wood, evergreens, groundcover plants, a curved path. We have no gravel or sand. But we have a body of water and the curved rock path. We also have a bamboo gate. 

Hand colored design:

gate drawing


Roger in his gate: hand tied bamboo.... very lovely! If you would like more information about the design or plant choices, let me know. I can detail them. You get an idea of the plant palette through the design and images, I hope.

--- Laurel

No comments:

Post a Comment