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Last Update: 2009-02-04
When making a Japanese-style garden, block off the area with a wall of bamboo, use lots of rocks in the landscaping, plant things in groups of three, and include a water feature. Create a balance of beauty, nature and meditation in a Japanese garden with... View Video Transcript
Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about making a Japanese style garden, and making a Japanese garden. So the Japanese gardens are some of my favorite gardens in the world and when I lived in Japan when I was an exchange student in college, the highlight of my day was just getting off the bus and stopping at a little shrine or a little temple in a little garden along the way. So the real trick to a Japanese garden is that you don't need a large area of space but you want to block it off from the rest of the world because to your own little sanctuary. And so it's a good way to meditate and just take a day or an hour out of your time and just sit in your garden and relax. That's the whole point of a Japanese garden, to enjoy the beauty of nature. And so to enjoy the beauty you've got to block if off. So whether using bamboo walls or bamboo plant or any other type of plant you want to screen off that area from the rest of the world. And you want to use lots of rocks and in groups of three. And you'll find in Japanese gardens there's always at least three rocks, they're in a triangle or a little bit off centered in the garden. And a lot of times sand works great in a Japanese garden too. And you can have a meditation garden and just rake some of the sand in circles and you can enjoy it that way. And water is always a huge feature in a Japanese garden whether it's just a little bamboo water pipe coming out and comes back and forth and makes little bell noise. Or if you have just a rock, a cement rock that has bubbles, water coming out of it, or you have a big lake with a bridge over it. Whatever you do you always have to incorporate some water, and then the plants. In the Japanese gardens you'll find that there's very minimal plants. There's lots of moss, there's lots of bamboo, there's lots of really bright colored foliage. And fall foliage is what it's all about. So you want lots of Japanese maples and rhododendrons and azaleas and all types of flower bulbs that bloom in the summer and in the fall that surprise you. Because there's always that element of surprise in a Japanese garden. There's lots of art and there's lots of statues and there's always something that you don't expect to see, whether it's just a little Buddha head underneath the azalea tree, or you have a little bench that's made out of a rock and at the end of the bench you have a little statue of a pagoda and you have a little stream running around it. So the best way to design or plant a Japanese garden is just to make a graph with squares and find out what you already have on hand. A lot of your plants will fit perfectly and just graphing in where you want everything, knowing that gardens are about change and you will probably change your garden eventually and change some of the plants out and that's o.k., because you can enjoy your Japanese garden whether it's a meditation garden or a display garden.