Introduction to Japanese Gardens

We’ve touched on the subject of Japanese gardens recently in some of our garden design blogs, but I wanted to go into a little more detail and try and give you a more comprehensive overview of Japanese garden design by pulling together a few videos we’ve found useful.

And don’t be scared, basically if you’ve grown a container garden or two, but want to advance your overall gardening and garden decor skills, then trust me Japanese garden design is the way to go.

And while we’re not saying you need to have a totally authentic Japanese garden, it is an excellent source of inspiration and understanding the fundamentals of this ancient form of garden design can help you create a unique contemporary garden that simply draws on and is inspired by the aesthetics.

Introduction to Japanese Gardens

Japanese garden design was developed to promote peace and tranquility and they derive their beauty by mixing and blending natural materials from the 5 ‘key’ elements of sand, rocks, water, traditional ornaments such as Japanese lanterns, water basins etc, and plants and their surroundings.

Part of the beauty of the Japanese gardens comes from the symbolic expression of religious Buddhism and Shinto beliefs. Traditional Japanese garden design is based on the three basic principles of reduced scale, symbolization and a borrowed view (incorporating the views outside the perimeter of your garden).

If you’ve got the time this is a great episode of Around the World in 80 Gardens with gardening guru, Monty Don. Well worth watching as he samples the very different approach of two of the world’s great gardening civilisations, China and Japan.

Next up we have these videos from TC Landscape Design. They have been a great source of inspiration to Lazy Susan with part 1 looking at the various components of Japanese gardens, while part 2 teaches you how to design Japanese gardens using these components.

Another good video to get the creative juices flowing is this Japanese garden tour from Garden Time TV. It takes a closer look at the fine Portland Japanese Garden to celebrate their 50th anniversary. The video looks at how the garden has grown during the past 50 years and how it has evolved into one of the best Japanese gardens in the US.

This before and after style video from Oriental Landscapes is an excellent illustration of what you can achieve with Japanese garden design. OK they are selling their service, but they are good at what they do, and the video has some great gardens!

Short on time and outdoor space? Well this next video is for you. It shows you how to transform a small roof garden into a Japanese oasis.

And last but not least we have another full documentary. Dream Window is a beautiful, slow-paced film all about Japanese Gardens. It features many of the top gardens from Tenryū-ji, Saiho-ji, Ryoan-ji to the Katsura Imperial Villa, and Shugaku-in Rikyu. If you seriously want to get into Japanese garden, then this is the video to watch…

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