Small Area Viewing Gardens - Japanese Gardens

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A pleasant Sunday was spent wandering the streets and lanes of Gion in Kyoto, Japan and viewing temples such as Kiyomizu Temple and the quaint Entouin Temple and of course viewing gardens seen along the way. The Japanese and their families enjoying and I think they love Sunday, the Temples, lunch and the street life. I was feeling jealous of their pleasure and they do like to connect to nature. In my wanderings I found the small area gardens and others in Kyoto truly expressed the art of the ideal Japanese garden.

I noticed the small area gardens followed similar design principles e.g. stone, pebble, stepping stones, lantern, water presence or image, some plants but not cluttered, the garden enclosed by boundaries on two and generally three sides, opening controlled through entry and viewing from one side only, screening used appropriately. Obviously, a lot professionally designed and installed. Some have a small tree or larger plant e.g. bamboo, yet any plant has to be proportionate with everything else.

Some gardens become confusing to the eye by having too many intrusions. They were cluttered. Too many elements and Zen discouraged by not allowing the mind to rest as it views the garden. The garden needing to be a background thing. Imposing in its reverence but not imposing in its demands to be the central attraction.

Placement to me offers a simplistic way to construct such gardens. That is collecting the materials selected as suitable and within the design curve. Taking them onto the site and installing them one at a time placing them into the framework and stepping back, altering if needed and adding each component one at a time until the scene becomes a composition of elements and each allowed to omit its own energy and not overpower its neighbours energy. A balance found and that balance measured. Materials located and their position guided by the overall theme for the garden.

Better to have a simple garden omitting the right energy than a complicated garden with confusing energies. The smaller the area suggests the placement and use of materials is less flexible.

Some gardens seek to project an active image, e.g. an entry to a cafe; restaurant, office or place of business and these require a composition of materials to reflect the desired mood. For example, water presence and its movement. Maybe lighting or minimisation of a landscape. These gardens may not exhibit much Zen but reflect gardens of visual appeal, vitality and aesthetic value.

Light balance and its controlled use are important in small area gardens along with control of outside impositions such as rain, wind and extremes of sunlight and shadow. Balance in shapes and colours also necessary.

Plant material and their use should be carefully considered and important to get it right to ensure their composition and structure remain in balance. Plants selected for their hardiness and suitability including colours and shapes, ability to be pruned and ease of maintenance. Remembering these gardens rely on life, health and flow to be successful.

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Author: Ross Lamond
I hope you enjoyed reading my article as much as I enjoyed pondering over and writing it. For more related topics and complete eBook Publications, please visit my website Feng Shui Garden - a Modern and Unique Concept to Feng Shui in the Garden and Harmonious Chi (Qi) Within Our Lives. Drop by and pick up your Free Feng Shui Ebooks Sample today!! Regards, Ross Lamond

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