Landscape Design: The Japanese Garden

Subject: ⛩️ Culture
Type: Descriptive Essay
Pages: 7
Word count: 1313
Topics: Japanese Culture, Nature, ✨ Design
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The Japanese garden is a classic example of human magic. The subdued artificial work in the garden often provides the aimed natural and cultural feeling of the Japanese land. The garden employs the moonlike bridge, and comfortable house is often at the center of the garden. The result is tranquility like no other. This paper looks into the landscape design of this garden in the traditional setting as well as in the modern setting. It also looks into the applied styles the garden, and in both of these aspects, it provides sample images to aid in the understanding.

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Japan can be appreciated for the many artifacts she possesses. More than the buildings lay a distinct pleasure in the gardens in Japan. Wright, an architect in the 20th Century, first visited Japan in 1905 and although he took many pictures of buildings, the pictures did not match up to those he took of gardens (Nonaka, 2008). There are many styles applied in the Japanese Garden. They are:

Pond and Islands gardens

The first and oldest style of garden is the pond and Islands garden. The garden applies ponds and human-made islands. Islands are considered to be representations of heaven. 

Dry landscape gardens

These gardens are called dry as they do not use water in their presentation. Water is replaced by sand and gravel.

Tea gardens

These are gardens that are to be viewed as one strolls around the garden. The path through the garden leads to a tea house.

Stroll gardens 

 This is another garden viewed as one stroll. Often, the path leads to an original pond or island.

Courtyard gardens

These gardens are small in size and are found between buildings (Japanese Garden Styles, 2014).  

Arcades and balusters are elements found in the Japanese Garden. The result of using them is simply a marvel to the eye. The design pays keen attention to three aspects of nature in Japan (Nothingam, 2013).

  • Water 
  • Trees
  • Stones or rocks

In the passing of time, various changes have been made in this Historical Garden. The aesthetic value, however, has not changed. The hope of creating a miniature of the nature of Japan is alive even in the 21st century. The modern Japanese Garden was introduced in the year 1912 and has prevailed to date. The Garden has been used for Conferences and as resorts. The Gardens are verse as they provide space for houses to be established.  The aspects above, as well as some additional ones, are employed in diverse ways.

The water aspect

The Japanese Garden is built on the ideology of visual appeal. In the past, the garden used small pebbles to present rivers and streams. Water has always meant a lot to the Japanese. The placement of water requires a correct Geomancy. There are many styles associated with the placement of water. They are; ocean style, which features rocks that have been eroded by water. The broad river features the creation of a large river coursing through mountains and hills. The marsh pond style is large or even in some instances small ponds with aquatic life such as plants. The rose letters style is a grim landscape with small tiny plants and flat rocks. Finally, there is the application of the mountain torrent style, which involves large rocks that represent the mountains. Under this aspect lies the memorable moon-like bridge associated with the Japanese Garden. Over time, this bridge has been built using modern materials, such as concrete. However, the traditional moon-like bridge has grown to probably be the most special antique of the Traditional Japanese Garden. Other than water, the Japanese love rocks and sand.

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The Rocks and sand aspect

The rocks are of different shapes in the Garden. These rocks represent various aspects of the religious beliefs of the Japanese. The Japanese traditionally classify the rocks into different groups. These are: 

  • Tall vertical 
  • Low vertical 
  • Arching 
  • Reclining 
  • Flat

Classifying the rocks and sand is aimed at increasing the aesthetic value of the Garden. The rocks are expected to have different sizes, colors, and shapes. However, subtle colors are encouraged as they revive the feeling of tranquility. While one might be tempted to place the rocks in any individual style, the original placement of rocks in the garden was dependent on the Buddhist religious beliefs. The gardeners would place three main rocks. One would represent heaven, the other would present earth, and the last one would represent humankind. Humankind is thought to be the bridge from heaven to earth.

Sand and pebbles are uniquely used. They often represent oceans and rivers and other times; they are used to define areas that reciprocate beaches around the ponds.

The trees and flowers aspect

The plants that are found in The Japanese Garden are carefully planted. The choice precision is aimed at establishing the much craved aesthetic and pleasant value in the Garden. The plants do not naturally grow, but they are effectively chosen to contrast the scenery, to enhance beauty, and to hide some undesired faults in the creation of the scenery. The trees are often trimmed to enhance beauty as well as control growth so that every view is accessible to the gardener and anyone who desires to visit the garden. There are common trees in the Garden. They are the azalea, the camellia, the oak, the Japanese apricot, cherry, maple, the willow, the ginkgo, the Japanese cypress, the Japanese cedar, pine, and bamboo.

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Image showing the three aspects

The beauty of the garden is simply amazing as explained and shown in the image. The aspects enhance the aesthetic and pleasant value required as one sets out for relaxation in the garden. We all need such relaxation in our lives. The good news is that it is not only present in the East Japan. The western countries have culminated the research of the garden and recreated it in more than one place. This opportunity is not only available for companies and Universities; it is availed to the public as well. Many newspaper articles have even gone the extra mile to elaborate how one can do this. Such articles are those in The Telegram by Guinness (2017). To create the reflection of the Japanese Garden, there are important principles to follow. They include:

  • Asymmetry: the garden is not created in a definite shape or size. It is made to feel as natural as it can. Therefore, it does not follow a set shape or size.
  • Enclosure: the Garden requires a sort of boundary barrier. However, the barrier is required to be as natural as the garden itself.
  • Borrowed scenery: this is the application of background landscape into the garden. For example, it would be wise to create the garden just in front of a mountain.
  • Balance: this mainly focuses on the visual balance. For example, one tree can be balanced by having two bush trees. 
  • Symbolism: the use of symbols to express certain things such as the use of pebbles to present the beach (Guinness, 2017).

Below is an image of the Japanese Garden established in the West and yet the result is simply amazing.

Some of the Present items:

  • The moonlike bridge
  • The Japanese maple tree- the tree with red leaves
  • Small bushes  
  • A water source

Apart from this, there are other effects that have been associated with the establishment of the garden. Such are

  • The gardens provide a soothing effect to the observers (Japanese Garden Design, Perception, and Wellness, 2016)
  • The gardens provide a learning parlor for the enlightenment of the culture and nature of the Japanese.

Overall, the Japanese garden is an epitome of tranquility and peace with an elegance that as explained above, seeks for a unique aesthetic value. The aesthetic value is born by creating nature in a compact scale of land. Such nature aspects are trees, water, and rocks all explained above. To experience the garden once, one can only hope to re-live the experience it provides.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Guinness, B. (2017). How to create a Japanese garden in Britain. The Telegraph.
  2. Japanese Garden Design, Perception, and Wellness (2016, May 4). Nature Sacred. Open voices blog.
  3. Japanese Garden Styles (2014). Japanese Garden Society. 
  4. Nonaka, N. (2008). Site lines. A journal of place, IV.  
  5. Nothingam, S. (2013). 28 Japanese Garden Design Ideas to Style up Your Backyard. 
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