Japanese gardening is much different from the Western style garden. Japanese gardens are said to be more soothing. In Japanese gardens, nature is copied as much as possible. A Japanese garden usually includes trees, rocks, sand, man-made hills, ponds, and flowing water. The Zen and Shinto traditions influence Japanese gardening a lot, which is why the gardens aim towards contemplative and reflective states of mind.
Basically, the sceneries in these gardens are in a reduced scale, in symbols, and in borrowed views. Reduced scale is the art of reproducing real nature scenes in a smaller scale. Symbolization involves generalization and abstraction. An example of this would be using white sand to suggest the ocean. Borrowed views would refer to the use of something like the ocean or a forest as a backdrop, but it would actually be an important part of the whole scene.
There are actually two types of Japanese gardening. The first is the tsukiyami garden, which involves hills and ponds. The hiraniwa, which is the exact opposite of the tsukiyami garden, is a flat without any hills or ponds.
A Japanese garden would have rocks, gravel, stones, moss, water, fences, and hedges. Rocks bring spirituality to the garden, and it is often used as the focus. Rocks symbolize the spirits of nature, as the Shinto tradition tells us. Gravel is for surface and can be used to symbolize flowing water when arranged correctly. Stones make boundaries, and can be sculpted to form lanterns. Water in any form is ever-present in Japanese gardens. It can actually be there or just symbolized, but it’s really needed for balance.
Bonsai is one of the plants that are signature of Japanese gardening. Bonsai is the art of making miniature forms of plants like Pine, Cypress, Holly, Cedar, Cherry, Maple, and Beech. The plants are kept miniature (ranging about five centimetres to one meter) by pruning, re-potting, pinching of growth, and by wiring the branches.
A garden can be a very relaxing place to be. Designing, building, and planting any kind of garden can be a great activity for the family.
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