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Gardening Blog: Japanese Inspired Gardens - Basic Elements and Symbols

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Japanese gardens are nowadays popular worldwide, because they offer an exotic feeling of the Orient right near your home.

If you enjoy oriental tendencies when it comes to decorations, you can try to add some Japanese-inspired elements to your garden. Japanese gardens are known for balancing different elements in order to create a soothing atmosphere and a sense of perfect equilibrium.

Obtaining the Japanese Garden Look

There are five types of Japanese gardens: the courtyard garden, the Zen garden, the tea garden, the promenade garden and the landscape garden. You can choose one of these gardens or add different elements to your garden project and make them coexist.

Some cut shrubs, a few lanterns and a small fountain decorated with pebbles can be sufficient to add a touch of the Orient to your garden. However, you can opt for a Zen garden, which will bring the essential landscape of the Buddhist philosophy right to your doorstep. A Zen garden combines natural and simple natural elements for creating a symbolic and tranquil garden landscape. The main elements used are rocks and sand (or gravel). By purchasing some books or visiting several Japanese gardens, you can easily add a touch of Zen in your garden. However, if you want to create a true Japanese garden from scratch, it is best to hire a landscaping specialist.

Elements of a Japanese Garden

Generally, a traditional Japanese garden is characterized by several basic elements and arrangements that create the feeling of tranquility as well as the characteristic equilibrium. There are no herbs in a traditional Japanese garden, but moss. A Japanese garden is often built on playing perspective (miniaturizing the components of the garden to give a feeling of grandeur to the garden). The location of plants is specific (background, border, foreground, on the water) and asymmetry is preferable to symmetry while preserving the harmony of the place.

Many of the plants that one may choose to add to a Japanese-inspired garden have a specific symbolism in the Japanese culture. The bud and the button symbolize the future, the open flower evokes the vitality, and the lichen refers to the past, while the bamboo symbolizes prosperity. The green of the evergreen plants refers to the immortality of nature against man; the pine symbolizes virility and longevity while the peach blossoms represent femininity. The omnipresent cherry that blossoms in spring is a symbol of the ephemeral.

Japanese gardens are suitable for most climates and landscapes. However, if you live in an area with very cold or hot temperatures for most parts of the year, you should check which specific Japanese plants can adapt to a harsh climate.
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Gardening and Plants