San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden has inspired many of the city’s residents to create their own Japanese garden retreats. After all, Japanese gardens are gorgeous, serene, and rejuvenating for the soul. However, there’s more to Japanese garden design than meets the eye. Japanese garden design is an art form, requiring careful planning and an exquisite touch. It requires both botanical and cultural knowledge. Below are a few of the more common – and most beautiful – elements of Japanese garden design.
- Rocks – Zen gardens typically include large rocks, stones, and sand arranged in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. In addition to their beauty, Japanese rock and Zen gardens are also ideal for areas where water conservation is a concern. Rocks and stones are also used as paving and for scenery.
- Water Features – From koi ponds and fountains to quiet bamboo water features, water plays a starring role in most Japanese gardens. Not only do Japanese gardens use actual water in ponds, streams, and waterfalls, they often incorporate gravel, stones, and stand to create simulated streams.
- Bridges – Footbridges are also common. From wooden boardwalks and stone bridges to the classic Japanese footbridge, these features often span small streams, ponds, or sandy paths. They make a lovely transition from one area of the garden to the next.
- Stone Lanterns – Stone lanterns are among the most distinctive element of all. They are placed strategically to reflect the concept of contrast (yin and yang).
Finally, Japanese garden designs feature an array of beautiful plants, shrubs, and seasonal flowers, making Japanese gardens a living treasure to be enjoyed and treasured. Common plants include: plum trees, azaleas, peonies, Japanese pine tree, Japanese maple tree, cherry trees, bamboo, and moss. Many of the plants and shrubs are meticulously pruned, adding to the distinctive Japanese look. (Source: San Francisco Landscaping Contractors by Tamate)