April 26, 2007
The most interesting design feature of this garden is one that is often overlooked… and this was done intentionally. The garden is shaped like a large bowl and serves as an egress escape for the basement level of the home through a large window facing the project area. Because this garden room slopes towards the house and is enclosed by a large berm and the surrounding woods, it was named the inner garden. This garden, with its large bowl like shape that faced the house, presented the need for a very good drainage system. We solved this problem by installing a large commercial grade catch basin and drainpipe. The 27” cast beehive grate of the catch basin was located in the center of the bowl and covered with a table top planter filled with a perennial groundcover. The gravel path was carefully positioned between the large berm and the bowl below allowing visitors of the garden walk through the inner, or egress, garden and not around it.
To enhance the Japanese theme we planted several shrubs that are being sculpted into tamamono style bushes and another grouping that will be trained into an O-karikomi wave. This is a mass of shrubs intended to grow together to be sculpted into one form. In addition to the use of plant materials that are suited for Japanese gardens in our climate, we also used a large quantity of stones with a majority of them being set vertically. These stones are the backbone of the garden, just as the stonework is in most Japanese gardens. We used a fine crushed aggregate for the pathway, which was an appropriate choice within the spirit of a Japanese stroll garden. A pocket was created within the stonework along the edge of the pathway and berm to receive a hand carved stone lantern. The lantern, although visible from any area within the garden, was set with the primary viewing point being the front entry, between a specimen Maple and a projection of the house adjacent to the walk.
We hope you like what you see and understand that this is not an authentic Japanese stroll garden, but rather a garden designed and constructed for a specific private use serving the functional needs of our client while borrowing from the spirit and principles of Japanese gardening.
If you would like our help with your Japanese garden project please contact us, Niwa Design Studio, at 952-470-1882.
You can also visit Japanese Garden Journal for more information about Japanese Gardens.