Japanese Garden Plans

Japanese gardens cannot simply be recreated with a haphazard collection of plants and objects; successful Japanese designs integrate a careful balance of these elements into soothing, contemplative gardens.

Living Art

The fish-filled pond is a meditative focal point in this Japanese style garden. Rocks, ornaments and planting are carefully arranged around it and a split bamboo fence filters light in horizontal patterns across its surface. The leaves of a sassafras and a betula rustle above.

Designer and owner Judycki says:

"My own garden has been a work in progress since the late 1970s. I started out as a stone sculptor, which has helped me to use and understand hard materials. I tend to start with them and soften the surfaces with planting."

"Sitting places are important to me. A favorite is the Japanese bathing stool, ideal for contemplation when I’m feeding the koi carp. The idea of living art and the movement it creates is also fascinating—we can see the pool from the living room, and it’s a constantly changing view."

"The garden is typical of my work in that I customize the space for each client. The plot dictates how it should be used and everything I do is site specific.”

Key Ingredients

'Rubrum' acer (image 1); Sassafras (image 2); ‘Francee’ hosta (image 3); Willowleaf (also, sotoneaster; image 4)

Other Ingredients

Sweetbox (image 1); Whitebarked Himalayan birch (image 2)

Capturing Movement

The swirling curves of the paving and lawn in this design create a sense of movement and enclosure, while simple and transparent planting produces a delicate filigree of foliage. Still water reflects the lit glass panels, which give an ethereal glow; the silhouettes of bamboo leaves on the panels extends the notion of planting without over-filling the space. The contrasting pale raked gravel and grass help define the composition.

Designer Seki says: “The client who wanted my Chelsea garden reconstructed in his garden leads a stressful London life, and was attracted to the calmness of the composition. The garden encourages a feeling of peace and opens one’s senses to the environment—for example, the gentle whispering of the breeze through the planting is central to the garden’s success."

"In this design, as in all of my work, I use the space as a device to enhance the changing character of nature; I believe this is an essential quality in a Japanese garden. I am also influenced by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, who explored the relationship between the landscape and the subconscious.”

Key Ingredients

Eastern redbud (image 1); Golden bamboo (image 2); European cranberrybush viburnum (image 3)

Essential Planting

‘Edward Goucher’ abelia (image 1); Double Reeves spirea (image 2); Mexican feather grass (image 3)

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