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Different Styles of Japanese Gardens

Aug 3, 2008
Japanese style gardens are very popular due to the beauty and serenity they offer. The concept of these gardens is to provide a place where one can be relaxed and calm. When designing a Japanese style garden, it is important that the plants and rocks meld together in the landscape; and the design of the garden itself must be well thought out.

Did you know that there are several different Japanese garden styles to choose from? Even though there are different types, you have the freedom to meld two or more different types together to make your own unique combination. However, you should have enough room in your yard to be able to do so. Here are the different styles for you to choose from if you are going to plan a Japanese style garden.

Island and pond style gardens are gardens with a centralized pond that is large enough to either have a boat go across or one in which you can stroll around the edge of the pond. This type of garden is designed to where all plant life, as well as rocks and other features, can be seen from the pond area. The elements as well as the plants are blended into the landscape beyond the garden itself. Small islands are also created within the pond with a small bush or tree to serve as a focal point and small bridges can also be built from the shore, to the island and back again.

Primarily used by Buddhist monks within their temples, the Zen garden is comprised of various size boulders, small and big rocks, gravel, and/or sand. Occasionally, they can also have one or two plants consisting of a shrub or tree. The rocks of a dry landscape Zen garden are very carefully positioned and consists of unique shapes and sizes; often representing islands. The sand and the gravel represent water and raked into various patterns. The Zen garden's goal is to help clear the mind of the viewer as well as aid in contemplation and meditation without distractions. The garden is to be viewed from a single focal point and is not entered into other than to rake the gravel.

A Japanese tea garden is good choice for a garden that is either incorporated within a larger Japanese garden style or in average sized yards and it is a popular one to create. It consists of two gardens; one being an outer garden and another being an inner garden. The outer garden consists of the entry gate and is less formal in planting with a stone path leading to the inner garden. Visitors to the tea garden go through a second gate where a water basin, called a tsukubai, is located and used in the tea ceremony itself. The inner garden consists of a stone path that flows through it and formally placed non flowering plants. A small building where tea ceremonies take place sits at the end of the inner path.

A stroll garden is made of various paths that lead the visitor through interesting turns and new sights. Landscapes that are found in nature are usually the focus of these gardens and are often recreated in miniature form within the garden itself. Large yards of at least an acre are required to create these gardens with interesting views.

Do you want a Japanese garden but have a small yard? A Courtyard garden just might be the perfect solution for you. These gardens work especially well in yards that are very limited in space and are enclosed by a brick or stone wall or wooden fence. It is simple in design and can be observed from inside your house or enjoyed outside if it. Courtyard gardens consists of few plants, perhaps a tree, small water feature, often times a dry stream, or other simple elements.

The most important thing to consider when planning a Japanese style garden is to determine what you wish to achieve with it. Be sure to do some research on the subject and decide what you want to do with it before you start.
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