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Create a Low Maintenance Japanese Garden

Aug 17, 2007
Most Japanese gardens require little maintenance because the components that are used are things like gravel, pebbles, stones, wood, water and occasional, carefully-chosen and well-positioned shrubs or small trees.

The Garden Design
It is important to create a sense of tranquillity and if possible provide areas for contemplation in the garden. The design should be kept quite simple and uncluttered, focusing on outline, shape and contrasting textures, the use of plants is restrained, resulting in a garden that satisfies the senses but requires minimum aftercare or maintenance.

Creating Focal Points
Features like rocks and stones have an important role in many Japanese gardens. They can be set in an area covered with fine pebbles, which are an ideal labour-saving ground cover. When wet, they change colour and catch the light beautifully.

Pick some special stones of varying size, colour and character, and arrange asymmetrically in one or two areas in uneven numbers. Traditionally, the pebbles are raked into variations of parallel lines and snaking spirals centralised on the main rock features. Gravel can be substituted for pebbles as a cheaper option. You can inset a walkway of large paving slabs or sawn tree-trunk pieces in the gravel.

Minimalist Planting Methods
In an authentic Japanese stone garden, the only plants might be mounds of green moss providing a softening contrast with the stones and rocks, but other types of Japanese-inspired garden include a few more plants, chosen for their interesting form or grace. These can be planted in between the pebbles or in large containers. Mosses thrive in moist conditions out of direct sun, but if they cannot be encouraged to grow, try moss like plants as an alternative, such as Sagina Subulata, S. Procumbens, or, in mild areas, the ground-hugging carpeter Soleirolia Soleirii.

Water Feature
Water, the essence of life, should always be present in a real Japanese garden, normally it would be fresh running water, but for the low maintenance approach even a simple bowl filled with water would be calming in a garden and offers birds the opportunity to drink. A bubble fountain washing over pebbles or a running stream effect would be an ideal feature.

Traditional Japanese Ornaments
In far eastern philosophy, the traditional garden features have their own significance within the strict rules and special meanings of the garden design. Bamboo wind chimes create soothing sounds, while a rounded lantern and a linear bridge are pretty, and useful for introducing contrasting shapes. You could introduce different ornaments to suit your own taste and garden size.

Try some of the low maintenance tips above and see if you can create your own slice of Japan, but without giving up your free time!
About the Author
If you thought that was a great article just wait until you see GardeningYear.com It's jam packed with great gardening guides and ideas. Are you still reading this? why are you not over there yet??? What are you waiting for! Thanks for reading my article. - http://www.gardeningyear.com
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