Want to create your own ‘Zen’ courtyard?
It's no wonder the Japanese style of gardening is so popular in Britain. It’s a style that can be adapted to suit even the smallest outdoor space and most of the plants are quite happy in our temperate, often drizzly climate. The preponderance of shade-lovers creates a soothing green palette too – the perfect antidote to our stressful lives, with seasonal highlights offered by delicate spring blossom and flamboyant acers in autumn.
Though the style is steeped in tradition and ancient symbolism, its simple, ‘less is more’ philosophy keeps it looking up to date. Modern urban gardeners will love the clean lines, emphasis on textures and overriding sense of calm.
Traditionally, Japanese gardens are miniature recreations of the natural landscape, with water represented by sand (raked into ripples), and rocks representing mountains such as Mount Horai. These two elements are the essential ‘yin and yang’ of the design and, in landscaping terms, are a good place to start.
Stone lanterns and water basins are further key ingredients. The water basin was traditionally a place to wash before taking tea at a traditional tea house.