Home & Garden Gardening

How to Plan a Japanese Garden

    • 1). Sit at the site where you intend to create your Japanese garden. Consider the different views available and decide if you want a small "viewing" garden or a large garden for wandering. Observe what trees, fencing and walls are available to help make the garden feel enclosed.

    • 2). Create a scaled blueprint of the garden site with room to make notes as you piece together a design. A scale of 1 inch to 1 foot allows for quick math and easy conversions.

    • 3). Place large stones to represent mountains, a rocky coast or islands. Group rocks in odd numbers, stacked vertically or arranged in a triangle. Arrange rocks and stones to look like they are emerging naturally from the ground.

    • 4). Review the site to see if you want additional hardscape components. Crushed white stones, raked sand or stepping stones establish open spaces or winding paths with surprising views. They can also be used to represent water if you don't plan to add a fountain or pond.

    • 5). Visit a nursery to see what shrubs and trees are native to your area. Ask a sales associate if Japanese trees like pines, junipers or Japanese maples would be able to endure your winter temperatures. Choose trees that offer neutral colors and multiple shades of green foliage. If you're working with a small space, consider using bonsai trees.

    • 6). Mark the trees on your garden blueprint, and consider using them to create a natural wall for privacy or to provide shade for a sitting area.

    • 7). Consider adding a water element like a bamboo container fountain, a stone water basin or a pond. Keep the size of your space in mind as you decide the size and shape of your water element. A fountain provides the calming sound of running water, while a pond serves as a single focal point for reflection and meditation.

    • 8). Add moss, ornamental grass or bamboo for texture and subtle height variations.

    • 9). Make a list of decorative objects to place in your garden. There's no need to draw these items on your blue print. Set them aside as you acquire them and place them in the garden as you compose it. Some objects can embellish paths and seating areas, while others are designed to be hidden so they only catch the eye occasionally.

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