Foreign influence gardens
Designing a foreign influence garden
Top tips for a foreign influenced garden
Japanese gardens take their inspiration from Buddhist, Taoist and Zen philosophies and are peaceful places with a spiritual atmosphere. They use water, plants, rocks and sculptures to create gardens that fulfil several principles of Zen, including asymmetry, symbolism and balance.
A Japanese-influenced garden design avoids straight lines and manmade materials and uses organic pathways to lead you from area to area, keeping surprises hidden around every corner. Stepping stone paths set into moss bedding or stone paths partly obscured by ground-covering plants create a more natural flow to the garden and this is enhanced by clever use of rock, gravel and bamboo. You’ll find little colour in a Japanese garden; instead, interest is created through subtle shades of green, architectural shapes and bold textures. Combining plants like acers, conifers, hostas and ornamental grasses creates interesting contrasts.
Water is a very important feature of a Japanese garden – the trickle of a waterfall or stillness of a calm pool aids reflection and can also be a suitable home for goldfish or koi carp.
Tradition is very important in Japanese culture. Lanterns light shadier corners and you’ll often find a pagoda in place of a patio or summerhouse. You could even install a zig-zag bridge somewhere in your garden – it’s believed to trap evil spirits and keep you safe.