Japanese gardens are unlike anything else. As an art form that had existed as early as 700 AD, garden design is definitely an important part of the Japanese culture. It is said that the elements of a Japanese garden were meant to act as miniature versions of mountains, islands, and other natural wonders. They are meant to provide the beauty of the world without the need to explore further than one’s backyard.
There are many famous gardens around Japan, most of them once belonging to royalty or the noble class. Today, these gardens have been transformed into public parks that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Some gardens even require advanced reservations to be explored.
Although they’re certainly worth the visit, there’s no need for you to book a flight just to enjoy a beautiful Japanese garden. If you have space, budget, and drive, you can turn your own backyard into a miniature Japanese garden for you to relax in. If you know the common garden elements as well as their meaning in Japanese culture, it will be easy for you to design your very own Shiki Nihon no niwa according to your taste.
The most important and vital part of the garden would, of course, be the Japanese plants. Think about the plants locally grown in Japan and see which ones will thrive in the weather and seasons that you plan to build your garden in. Japanese gardens mix a good combination of shrubs, trees, ferns, lawns, and flowers. Maple and cherry blossoms are the most common trees that you will see in a Japanese garden. Other vegetations such as bamboos, azaleas, as well as mosses are often used to create the landscape too.
If you’re doing a miniature garden, you may want to look into the art of bonsai gardening. It’s the Japanese practice of growing little trees in small containers. Not only are they space savers compared to planting trees, but they’re also easier to care for and maintain.
The Japanese traditional religion of Shintoism is known for its deep reverence for nature and the environment. No Japanese garden is ever truly complete without a body of water as it symbolizes the origin of life. Ponds, streams, and waterfalls are common sights in a typical garden and are typically decorated with lotus plants and koi fish. Stones, gravel, and sands are also used heavily in Japanese landscaping. Big boulders are used to represent mountains and hills, and stones and sand can act as accents or pathways for strolling and tea gardens.
As for finishing decorative touches, lanterns and water basins are the common go to. Together they serve as important elements for tea garden parties, where ritual cleansing is expected to be carried out before hand.
All in all, you’ll find that Japanese gardens aren’t as hard to build as they seem. Once you’ve built your very own Japanese inspired backyard, you’ll be inspired by the sense of peace and calmness that they bring to your home.