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Do It Yourself Japanese Landscaping

In Japan landscaping is more than a pastime or 'something that looks nice'. The Japanese garden evolved from the symbiotic link between art and architecture that has characterized the island nation since before known history.

To fully understand the art of Japanese landscaping, one must first understand the principles of Japanese landscaping. The base and goal of all Japanese landscaping is nature. It is important not to create something unnatural in your garden. Sorry folks, no garden gnomes!

For instance, all ponds much have an organic shape. This means no perfect angels for ponds or pools. You can install a man-made waterfall but there can be no fountains.

Balance is another crucial element of Japanese landscaping. If you have a 60-acre yard, everything must be large. Large trees, large rock and large waterfalls. If you have a tiny balcony, you will have small bonsai trees, pebbles and tickling water. However, all of the elements must be there to create balance. You must mimic nature. Rocks become mountains and puddles become lakes.

However, this does not mean that there is only one type of Japanese garden. Here are some examples of different Japanese gardens that, while using the same principles, vary subtly.

Hill and Pond Originating in China, the hill and pond garden is very popular in landscape gardening today. This style aims to reflect a mountain landscape, and thus mountain plants are often used. The pond is always at the front of the hill (or hills). The pond may be formed of real water, or it can be symbolized by raked gravel. Hill and pond gardens are always used for walking in.

Flat Garden The flat garden helps to evoke feelings of rest and contemplation. It is meant to symbolize the flat, open spaces surrounding palaces and temples. Courtyards are often done in the flat style, presenting an area for meditation and thought. Usually it evokes a seaside area, and thus seaside plants are used.

Tea Gardens The tea garden aims to present a rustic feeling. Few plants should be in the garden. The garden is created with a focal point, known as The Roji, or The Dewy Path. This path is paired with a pond or water basin and gates.