www.i-love-delrey-beach.com Japanese Courtyard Garden
As promised here is the second part of hopefully some useful and inspiring news on Japanese courtyard gardens. They make great use of limited space and with a little planning they can be stunning in simplicity and pleasing on the eye.
A few days ago I wrote an introductory piece on this website about making a Japanese courtyard garden. If you scroll down on the pages left hand side you will find the article and lots of other Japanese garden related information and tips.
A courtyard garden in Japanese is called ‘Tsuboniwa’. You can include plants and ornaments but they are much more than just those two things. They are considered by many as a place to reflect and enrich the spirit and they often provide a ‘lightness’ to any home and a feeling of being enclosed but outdoors enjoying ventilation.
Making A Japanese garden – Courtyard garden essentials…
Originally, Japanese courtyard gardens were small micro-gardens as part of a much larger building structure. They started off being really quite small just under 4 metres square in size that is around 11 feet squared and were often a common addition to many Japanese homes.
So what are the elements you can use when making a Japanese garden? If you wish to be accurate and traditional then a stone basin is a must, stone pathways, a lantern, maybe a small bridge and some garden stones. These are all strong elements and are often referred to by designers as ‘hardscape’.
Hardscape will help you set out and realise your design ideas. For example you could place a small bridge over an area of sand or gravel ( depicting water) or you could place a few larger stones withing your design that would mimic real landscapes like mountains.
Plants , shrubs and herbaceous trees will complete the finished design. As always, my advice is to sketch out your designs before starting the construction. A good rule of thumb is one inch squared equals one suare foot on your plan.
It is quite possible that your Japanese courtyard garden will have walls on each side and may be denied generous sunlight so you will have to pickj your trees, shrubs and plants accordingly. If it is a really shdy are then go for mosses – they will flourish and provide a blanket of different greens and the occasionally light brown to accentuate your hardscape features.
Your sunlight in the garden will dictate what plants and shrubs will flourish in an area of direct sunlight, shade or bright light (not direct sunlight).Its a small scale garden so try and stick with dwarf bonsai and a good dollop of groundcover plants that fit your environment. Always check the growing needs before buying to avoid dissapointment.
The chances are your Japanese courtyard garden will not be blessed with lots of natural water so pick plants that require little water. If you feel uncomfortable about including plants, shrubs and bonsai trees then you can always just design a space that is a traditional ‘Tsuboniwa’. By this I mean DRY – no water or plants etc. The earliest and more traditional courtyard gardens follow this ‘rule’.
They used rocks, sand , gravel etc to copy real landscapes scenes from a familiar local area. It is fun using your imagination – rake sand in swirls to signify water, a stone basin containing water can signify a lake or even an ocean! You can go small medium or large with your landscape copying, it will depend on the size of your available area.
A Japanese courtyard garden takes some organising and thought. Don’t just place ingredients willy nilly. Your plan should reflect an area of contemplation, tranquility and spiritual learning and reflection. Do not overcrowd it!
I heard a saying that is SO true ….” Plan your Japanese courtyard garden with a minimalist approach and the economy of a poet”