Wonderful Japanese Garden Ideas

Gardening is a great activity and it’s a real pleasure to enjoy the end product. It is nice to see your garden grow over the years and to see the result of all your creativity and hard work. A Japanese garden is no different, you would think, but in fact it is. There is a different kind of intrinsic beauty in Japanese garden ideas that you need to learn to appreciate. There are few people who see a garden in a Japanese style and know in a second this is what they love and would like their own garden to look like. Most people will only enjoy the beauty of this type of design if they can find the internal peace to see each little element at its own. Both people can use some of the basic garden ideas we will take a look at in this article.

Many different ideas for a Japanese style garden

There are of course many different ideas for these types of gardens but there are some common grounds we call the basics. One of the basic principals is that almost all design ideas will all point to nature as being the most beautiful work of art of all. The Japanese garden is always designed with nature in mind, this means the garden should always reflect the things we see in nature. When we design a yard with this kind of design it might look unorganized and wild but when we take a closer look it is often perfectly in balance, a little replica of nature at its finest. And to some that is a type of perfection we cannot find in other types of garden design.

Rocks and Space

A well known idea for a Japanese garden is the rock garden and they are much more orderly than other ideas. In a way the rocks represent the mountains in nature and pebbles and other small stones can create the image of a river bedding. Small Japanese trees and shrubs are the image of what nature creates on a large scale.

Another special style element in our Japanese garden is empty space, it may sound strange but this space is one of the most important style elements that this type of garden has. It is one of the traditions you can follow when you decide to do your own design. The empty space forms a retreat to all the beauty of the trees, plants and other elements, it reminds you of what you have missed and what you have found. These are just those elements what people need to learn to understand before they can fully appreciate the Japanese style garden.

Separate the garden from reality

There are items in the garden that have a deeper meaning such as fences and gates, in the western countries they are used to keep strange people away from the house and to keep pets and little children in the yard. A Japanese garden style follows totally different traditions, here those structures are used to separate the garden from reality and to let the people experience the beauty and serenity of the garden.

Small Garden Design – How to Get Started

So, you have decided to start a small garden, but where should you start? The first step in any small garden design project is planning the type of garden you want to grow.

Do you want a small garden with lots of color? Will you want flowers that you can cut and bring indoors? If so, then you will want to think about flower garden design. Do you want to combine an interest in cooking with a small vegetable garden design or an herb garden design? Maybe you want to consider a combination garden.

Once you have a starting point on the type of garden you want, before you start your small garden design, you need to consider a few things…

What is your planting zone?

How many hours of sun does your garden area get during the day?

Does the amount of sun change during the day or the seasons?

If your garden is in a small portion of a yard, what else is already growing in that area?

Let’s start with your planting zone. What is a planting zone? In North America, the USDA has created a Hardiness Zone Map that divides North America into 11 different planting zones. A low and high range of temperatures defines each zone. While there are limitations to using a zone map, it will give you some idea of whether a plant will survive in your climate.

Some sources for finding planting zone information are on the back of seed packets, in the plant description, and on the internet. This information will not only help you determine if a plant can survive in your climate range, but how early you can plant a particular plant in your location. While zone maps are not perfect, they can provide a useful start to determining the plants to use in your small garden design.

One of most important factors in determining the types of plants you can use as you develop your small garden design will be the amount of sun you get in the area you want to plant. Whether it is a container garden for your patio, deck, balcony, or rooftop or a small area in your yard where you are going to plant, you need to spend some time evaluating the amount of sun you get in that area. Do you get full sun for 6 to 8 hours a day? Is the area in the sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon or shade in the morning and sun in the afternoon?

The amount of sun you receive in your planting area will determine whether you can plant sun-loving plants, shade plants, or plants that can take part sun/part shade. Armed with the information about your planting zone and the amount of sunlight in your area, the next step will be to start determining the types of plants you want in your small garden design. Now the fun starts…

Hints and Tips For Your Small Garden

Starting a garden is an exciting project in itself. We often see large country houses with wonderful large gardens. However, if you have limited space, a small garden can be a wonderful addition to any home as well. Here are some hints and tips to get you started on your own small garden project.

Adding wall fountains to your small garden

Wall fountains are excellent additions to any gardens that are tight on space. The variety of wall fountains to choose from are boundless. From classical Greek figures to modern art forms, the choice is yours. Most wall fountain spills water into a basin underneath which a small pump is located. Made of terra cotta, plastic, fiberglass, cast concrete or metal, you can choose the right material to blend in to your small garden. A great hint is to install the wall fountain on a wall where you are able to switch the wall fountain on and off at will from inside your home. Although it will be more work for you but the end result is fantastic and you save yourself some hassle.

Adding a tree to your small garden

It is often said that nothing can set the atmosphere of a garden faster a tree, and that goes for small gardens too. Thus, it is of paramount importance to choose the right tree. Otherwise, you will spend years lamenting your poor decision. Since your garden is on a small scale, do not go for large trees. To select the right trees, it is often a good idea to see what thrives locally in other parks and gardens. Most probably they will do well in your garden if they thrive in your neighbourhood. If you do not know the name of the trees you saw, it is a good idea to snap a few pictures of it and visit some public parks and arboretums to identify it. Most of these places label their trees, simplifying your task. Another get hint is to ask small garden owners about the trees in their garden. I guarantee that people who enjoy their garden will be happy to share advices.

Bougainvillea is not for any small garden

Bougainvillea is a plant highly suited to a hot, dry climate. Other than its wonderful colours, another advantage is that once established, minimal irrigation is all that is needed for this hardy plant. However, this does not mean it is requires no maintenance. It has a habit to sprawl when planted in the ground, making an untidy mess in small gardens. It is more advisable to grow it on a wall or fence, tying it to a support structure.

Bougainvillea growing is a labor intensive activity which makes it not suitable for people who have no time for garden maintenance, especially small gardens where it needs to neat and not cluttered to the brim. However, if grown correctly, the Bougainvillea will add a special touch to your own small garden.

Planning for your small garden

The best advice to give someone starting a small garden is to keep it neat and simple. Refrain from growing exotic and unusual plants. Reserve your creativity to the layout of your small garden. Make sure you have done your research on the height of the plants you wish to grow, or you can ask about it when you are at a plant nursery. After getting our plants and reaching home, position the plants in the potential locations they will be planted in your future garden area and try to visualize the results. Rearrange the plants until you feel good about it. This visualizing exercise will save you a lot of trouble replanting later on.

Small Garden Design Ideas – Introduction

One of the challenges of small garden design is of course space Unlike large gardens, you must be much more disciplined in your approach. While experimentation is easier in the smaller garden, you will want to spend some time planning. You will need to be satisfied with fewer types of plants. Instead of buying a new plant spur of the moment, you will want to spend a little more time thinking about the potential new plant’s fit in terms of spread, height, color and texture.

With the smaller garden, it is not as easy to do things like hidden turns and garden rooms. But this does not mean you need to throw away the elements of contemporary garden design. You have opportunities to do similar things on a smaller scale. Imagine you have a small garden space towards the back of your yard. It is on your right as you walk towards it. You can start with a low boxwood-type hedge, or in my case a rock about 12″ high with a sharpish edge on the top. My rock is about 3 feet long. I laid the rock perpendicular to and touching my garage wall, forming a border shaped like a mountain range. As you walk further back, the area at first obscured by the rock reveals itself. I tried to make this more dramatic by using multicolored peonies planted very tightly against the side of the rock near the garage wall. This way, you see a small explosion of color that remains hidden until you have come completely to the level of the rock. This is my version of the hidden turn.

While large hardscapes such as boulders and walls may be out of the question, you can still create the illusion of separation by using hedges, rocks as in my example, gravel rivers as in Japanese gardening, etc. For myself, instead of trying to create rooms or separation within a single garden area, I have several small garden areas which are for the most part separated by lawn. In some cases I try to treat each of these tiny areas as separate gardens or rooms.

This gives me the ability to try new things fairly quickly in a small garden area. If it doesn’t work, or if I want to try something new, I may buy some additional plants, or I might move plants from one of the other little gardens. I can add my “mini hardscapes” like rock, and move plants around in a matter of minutes. I think experimentation is one of my favorite things about this type of gardening. While on the one hand, you need to plan for the appropriate plants, on the other hand you can swap different plants in and out of a particular spot to see which works best, or just to try out a new idea.

As always, you will need to take note of your growing zone, especially the hours of sun vs. shade in the area you are planting. We do site analysis in the first place to know which plants will thrive in our garden. I read once that a poorly chosen plant becomes an annual, so don’t let that happen to you! Make sure to select your plant for the appropriate size, texture, color, and durability for your planting area. Some of my areas get sun for 6 hours, some are always in shade.

Unlike a larger garden, you will be able to see your entire garden as one entity. Even though you can have some separation into tiny rooms if you want, remember to look at each small garden as a complete composition. The way the plants work together to form the whole can be much more important in the small garden.

Everything I have read indicates that you should be somewhat monochromatic with your small garden. Use different variations and subtleties of the dominant color. Show differences with height, texture, etc. On the other hand, I have always been a little bit of a contrarian, so you can always try explosions of different colors, especially if you have an object to anchor the explosion, like a rock, small bird bath, sundial, bench, etc. For myself, I will never tire of red and green against a whitish rock.

And again, here is the versatility of the small garden. You can still have some of the traditional elements of the larger garden, like a separated sitting area or playing area. But here are some options. First, instead of one garden area with a play area, have 2 different garden areas separated by the playing area. If you want a bench, or sitting area, try the same – 2 separate gardens divided by the sitting area.

If you decide to try some of these small garden design ideas, I’d love to know how it worked out for you!