page contents The Little Bonsai: Japanese Garden Landscaping and Design

Growing and Caring for Bonsai Trees

Growing and Caring for Bonsai Trees

Japanese Garden Landscaping and Design

Japanese traditional garden with beautiful Koi fish pond

At the heart of a Japanese garden is harmony with nature. More than simply a landscape of trees and flowering shrubs, a Japanese garden provides a place of serenity and rest, filled with peaceful spots that lend themselves to meditation and contemplation Japanese garden design recreate the natural landscapes in small spaces creating gorgeous reflections of the natural surroundings.

All elements of oriental garden design are interconnected blending function and aesthetic appeal in harmony and balance. Beautiful Japanese garden design ideas give great inspirations to Feng Shui homes and yard landscaping ideas, adding peaceful small spaces where you can relax and rejuvenate.

A few oriental garden design tips will help integrate the most important concepts into your backyard designs and create beautiful and tranquil outdoor living spaces to enjoy every season. The garden design should be right for the location, harmoniously integrating natural features into beautiful yard landscaping ideas in Japanese style. Your garden design starts from having nothing. Then you add Japanese garden rocks, trees and shrubs. Uniqueness and matured beauty add charm and character to oriental garden design.

Japanese garden designs is a gorgeous combination of thick green moss, miniature trees, rocks, sand and water features, Japanese stone lanterns, Tsukubai water fountains placed in harmony to add graceful elegance to yard landscaping. The peaceful atmosphere of an oriental garden which celebrates your personality and connects you to the nature is the most import thing to achieve.

Basic oriental garden design styles

There are three basic Japanese garden design styles that differ by setting and purpose. Hill and Pond oriental garden design style is classy and traditional. These garden designs are inspired by Chinese gardens. A pond or a space, that symbolizes a pond and is filled with raked gravel, and a hill represent mountains and lakes. Flat garden designs include open flat spaces in front of temples and places for ceremonies. This formal style represents a seashore area and is frequently used in courtyards. Tea Garden designs are functional and informal, blending an aesthetic appeal of rustic style into beautiful and elegant spaces with gates and ponds.

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Elements of Japanese garden design

Rocks in Japanese garden design are the main elements. The stones placement creates balance and
The Japanese Art of Landscaping 1974
Feng Shui outdoor spaces with harmony and beauty. The basic stones are the tall upright stone, the low upright stone, the curved stone, the reclining stone, and the horizontal stone. Two almost identical stones can be set together as male and female, but the use of them in threes, fives, and sevens is more frequent. Stones can be placed as sculptures, set against a background in a two-dimensional way, or used as stepping stones or a bridge.

When used as stepping stones they should be between one and three inches above the soil, yet solid underfoot. They can be put in straight lines, offset for left foot, right foot or set in sets of twos, threes, fours, or fives. The pathway stands for the passage through life, and even particular stones by the path may have meaning. A much wider stone placed across the path tells us to put two feet here, stopping to enjoy the view. There are numerous stones for specific places that give character to unique, meaningful and mysterious Japanese garden design.

Water features play an important part in Japanese garden design. Water can be represented with a raked gravel or sand area instead of water. A rushing stream can be represented by placing flat river pebbles closely together. The flow of water, its sounds and looks, brings to mind the continual passage of time. Bridges crossing the water streams are beautiful landscaping ideas that complement philosophical Japanese garden designs. Bridges denote a journey, just as pathways do. Bridges are the symbolic pass from one world into another, a constant theme in Japanese art and garden design.

Japanese garden designs for tranquility, simplicity and harmony

Japanese garden plants and flowers

Rocks in Japanese garden represent what remains unchanged, while trees, shrubs and perennial flowers represent the passing of seasons. A few native plants are present in Japanese gardens. Pines, cherries and bamboo are symbols of oriental garden design, but the use native plants of your locality give unique character to your garden design and yard landscaping ideas, inspired by traditional Japanese garden style. Japanese flower gardens are works of art, if done well. The key to designing your own Japanese flower gardens is to keep it simple and try to imitate nature in the layout. When dealing with Asian plants, it takes a bit of research to select the best Japanese garden plants for your own garden, but it isn’t difficult. Having a variety of plants for a Japanese garden is important. A visit to Japan (even if its just a short visit) it will never be complete without visiting the beautiful gardens of Japan. It's a true must see! For beginners that arent familiar to the world of Japanese garden designs, I would suggest to start exploring the gardens in Kyoto. To view all aspects of Japanese gardens it takes time and the wide distances between cities can be inconvenient. However, the best way for visitors to travel economically is a Japan Rail Pass. A JR pass allows visitors to save up to 60% in cost of traveling between cities and it applies to all Japan Rail Trains and Buses. For more information on traveling through Japan with JR Pass ---> please click here.

Japanese garden decorations

Traditional Japanese Stone Lantern

Stone lanterns are not important elements of Japanese garden design. Lanterns, stupas, and basins are just landscaping ideas to compliment an oriental garden design and add points of visual interest to small spaces. A water fountain and an art piece can be added to an oriental garden. Framing it with the stones, plants and flowers creates a very special centerpiece that improves existing Japanese garden design. There are plenty of lanterns in different shapes and forms. Popular ones are Kanjuji which are very simple in form. Many of us like three story lanterns like for example Sanjuno-To that are available in many landscaping stores. 

Interesting Books on Bonsai can be found here:

The Complete Book of Bonsai --> I've been into bonsai for 25 years and this is the basic Bible for beginner and intermediate bonsai enthusiasts. It has an excellent section on techniques, including pruning, wiring and whatnot, and it has a large species-specific tree guide. If you're into bonsai and want only one book, this is it.

Indoor Bonsai The Great Selection --> Creating beautiful, healthy bonsai is a wonderful skill that anyone can learn, with a little time, patience, and this all-inclusive manual. With color photos and drawings to illustrate the points, it introduces all the cultivation techniques; offers expert advice on location, soil types, watering, and pest control; and provides intricate instruction on training the bonsai--including pruning, wiring and stretching it.

The Secret Techniques of Bonsai --> In The Secret Techniques of Bonsai, the author of the groundbreaking Bonsai With American Trees teams up with his son to offer not only the basics for creating perfect bonsai, but also secret techniques they’ve developed over years of careful work and observation.

Bonsai Survival Manual --> Problem solving when your Bonsai get sick. Expand your gardening repertoire as you create a captivating and exquisite miniature world. In this introductory guide, Colin Lewis covers everything you need to know to design, grow, and successfully maintain attractive bonsai.

Bonsai and the art of Penjing --> Bonsai & Penjing, Ambassadors of Beauty and Peace describes how Chinese penjing and North American bonsai were later added to the Museum, making its collection the most comprehensive in the world. Stories of individual trees and forest plantings are featured, as are the roles played by the skilled and talented creators of these living art forms people such as John Naka, Saburo Kato, Yuji Yoshimura, Harry Hirao, and Dr. Yee-Sun Wu.

Bonsai with Japanese Maples --> With their delicate foliage, seasonal color changes, and intricate pattern of branching, Japanese maples are among the most popular and suitable plants for bonsai design. In this long-awaited book, internationally renowned expert Peter Adams discusses both the specific horticultural needs of Japanese maples as bonsai subjects and illustrates proven techniques for creating and maintaining beautiful specimens.

The Modern Bonsai Practice --> The most current, useful information on growing Bonsai. Fresh, practical, definitive, comprehensive reference guide to the finest art of horticulture: growing miniature trees. Common sense bonsai answers separating myth from fact with depth and detail. Appropriate for both bonsai hobbyists and experienced practitioners.

More Bonsai articles can be found here:

Please click here for more information on --> Chinese Penjing Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Origins of Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Art of Saikei Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Japanese Tanuki Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> How to Water a Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Bonsai Healing Methods

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