Japanese Garden PicturesWhen you see Japanese Garden pictures you can’t help but feel a sense of peace.

All components in the design seem to work in complete harmony and project a sense of tranquility.

When trying to capture the concept and the spirit of a Japanese Garden you must first understand it’s design principals in nature.

A Japanese Garden design would not reflect something that nature itself could not create.

As an example, you would never see a square pond in nature. So, if adding a pond to your garden design, it wouldn’t be square in shape but rather would reflect a free-form shape of that found naturally.

You could certainly include a small rock waterfall in your design but you wouldn’t include a fountain. The principals in Japanese Garden design are also about balance but not symmetry and this means you choose your garden components carefully.

A Japanese-Style Garden is a miniaturized version of what occurs naturally in nature. Your rocks can represent mountains in your landscape, a pond represents a lake and small patches of raked sand may represent the ripples in an ocean.

The Structure Behind Japanese Garden Design

Using the principles of symbolization, borrowed view and a reduced scale, Japanese Garden pictures may represent famous scenes or places on a much smaller scale and in confined spaces.

Japanese Garden PicturesMiniaturized versions of mountains through the addition of boulders. Meandering streams reflected in carefully arranged stones represent a “borrowed view” of existing scenery.

This “borrowed view” is symbolically presented through naturally occurring materials and shapes on a significantly smaller scale.

One of the key components in Japanese Garden pictures is openness or emptiness that may be hard to embrace in our western culture.

We are so used to filling open spaces in our landscape design with a virtual riot of plants and color that planned empty horizontal expanses may feel a design is lacking or isn’t complete. In a Japanese Garden, this complements the design.

Japanese Garden Pictures

Japanese Garden Pictures Reflect Simple Design Principles

When  designing a Japanese Garden it needs to be done with an appreciation for nature, its elements and a respect for those elements. The key to a Japanese Garden is to be in complete harmony with the nature surrounding it. Effort needs to be placed in uniting opposing elements of the garden design together. This uniting of elements culminates in an artistic marriage of sorts. Examples of opposing elements are:

  • Something obvious versus something hidden
  • Dark elements versus light
  • Smooth elements versus rough
  • Space versus form
  • Course texture versus fine

The goal being a miniaturized version of nature using materials that symbolically represent actual scenery occurring in nature.

There is no Symmetry in Japanese Garden Design

You will note in Japanese Garden pictures that this type of design has no straight lines and the elements or materials used are not of the same size.

The underlying principle is more value is placed in attaining perfection through imperfection.

Japanese Gardens asymmetrical designOdd numbered pieces, shapes and sizes also more accurately represent the randomness of materials found in nature.

The scaling of materials in size and their relationship to each other is also thought to be more satisfying than a symmetrical balance.

Elements are usually numbered in quantity between three and five with one element being dominant and a focal point while the others are subordinate to the dominate piece.

A great Japanese Garden design, because of its miniaturization of a scene in nature, will reflect a unique sense of size, distance and depth to achieve a desired perspective by viewers.

This can be done in many ways like narrowing a path as it recedes to the back of a yard or by placing vibrant colors up front and more muted tones behind. The intent in small garden spaces is to project a greater sense of size and depth by providing a view that suggests more than is really there.

The Don’ts When Planning a Japanese Garden

When creating an authentic Japanese Garden there are a few rules of thumb to follow:

  • Consider using some other color than white when selecting flowers. White flowers are considered funeral flowers in some Asian countries. Also the chrysanthemum species in any color are similar in meaning.
  • Don’t forget to add pathway lighting or accent lighting to your Japanese Garden. A Craftsman-style landscape light works wells along pathways or there are large varieties of Asian-themed landscape lighting and bollards to enhance your design.
  • If you choose to feature a Buddha statue in your landscape be sure it is the whole head and body and not just the Buddha head. Displaying the head only is a sign of disrespect.
  • Using straight walkways or pathways to your home instead of meandering walkways is believed to allow malevolent spirits directly into your home. A meandering path is thought to hinder this movement.
  • Don’t completely fill your landscape space with plants, trees, shrubs, rocks and ornamentation as this goes against the design principals outlined above.

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