Gardening enthusiasts adore the idea of Japanese garden because of the calmness and beauty it brings to property. Shops, buildings, restaurants and other commercial establishments incorporate Japanese garden to their landscape. If you want to have your own Japanese garden at your backyard, then you have to consider some elements.
First, you have to grasp the true meaning of nature. It means you have to design your garden as natural as possible and not to add things that could destroy its natural beauty. If you try to add water features in your garden, you should think of one that naturally occurs in environment like a waterfall.
You must also have the concept of balance. One purpose of Japanese garden is to recreate the real nature into the small garden you have. Rocks can be your mountain, ponds could be the lakes and sand could mean the ocean.
You should be careful when choosing your elements in the garden. You must not lose the concept of nature and balance.
Ma and Sabi/Wabi (Space and Time)
The spaces or Ma are important aspect of Japanese gardening. You must consider the elements that surround the space.
In and yo (yin and yang in Chinese) is applied in this concept. It might be hard to understand at first but it is an essential part of Japanese gardening.
Another important concept is the Sabi and Wabi or the element of time. Wabi is essence of the uniqueness of something while Sabi is the character strengthens by time.
The time and space elements are essential for Japanese garden. As the season changes, your garden must reflect the characteristics of each season. Japanese gardening last until winter unlike the Westerners who stop gardening at the end of fall.
During spring, the garden must show a relaxing effect by offering new blossoms. In summer, the green color and the sight of the pond reflects the true essence of summer, the dramatic effect of yellow or orange flowers during fall and the white snow that dominates the garden during winter.
Spring and winter are two of the most essential growing season in Japan. Snow blossoms or Sekku in Japanese is the snow on braches and the Snow lantern or Yukimi is a snow lantern used in Japanese garden during winter. Winter is the most important part of gardening as it is the sleeping time of the garden.
If you want your garden to be the real escape from reality, then you have to separate it from the real world. In order to achieve it, gates and fences are essential
These borders represent deep meaning for a Japanese garden. These separate you from the worries and problems. The fence encloses you and your garden away from the real world while the gate is where you leave your problems and deal with them once you exit the garden.
This is the concept of Miegakure or hide and reveal. The fence is put up easily and with the use of plants, it hides what is inside the garden. You can have a small part of the fence to be cut down for people to have a look at your garden.
You can also make use of sleeve fences or Sode-gaki to have a view of the garden from the house. Through these borders, you can lose track of time and yourself within your garden.
Three Basic Japanese Garden Styles
All the concepts above are applied to these three styles. You can either choose from the three to incorporate in your backyard.
Hill and Pond Garden (Chisen-Kaiyu-skiki)
This style is greatly influenced by Chinese. A space or water feature is surrounded with gravel and hill. This is to show the mountainous areas and vegetation in the area. Stroll gardens make use of this style.
Flat Garden (Hiraniwa)
It is inspired by the flat spaces used by palaces and temples for ceremonies. This is a good place to mediate by yourself and make use of the appropriate plants to create a relaxing effect. Courtyards commonly use this style
Tea Gardens (Rojiniwa)
This style focused greatly on functionality. The dewy path or Roji is the focal point of the garden style with the gates and pond. Plants should be chosen carefully for country look of your garden
Formality should also be considered when using either of the styles. Hill and Pond Garden can be formal (shin), intermediate (gyo) and informal (so). Shin style is used in palaces and temples while Gyo is for residence. The So is for huts or retreats and tea garden is one informal style.
One should embrace the concepts of Japanese garden in your backyard. You may not have used all the techniques but the important thing is you have achieved serenity and a natural garden that is your true escape from the outside world.