Building a Japanese Garden – Assessing Your Yard

First and foremost, you must determine what style of Japanese garden will best suit your backyard area, as well as your budget and the time you have available to care for your garden.

Rocky slopes, hills, marshy areas and size will all have an effect on the finished product. Quite obviously, you would not create a dry landscape Zen garden on a very wet area of your lawn! By the same standards, if your yard is tiny, a stroll garden would be out of the question.

When accessing your yard, there are a few things you should make note of:

  1. What is the sun position during various parts of the day? Do you get a lot of sun throughout most of the day or for only a portion of the day?
  2. What areas are shady? What causes the shade – a building, a large tree? Will you be able to work with this shade? Can you continue to use the tree or do you have to cut it down?
  3. In what direction does the wind usually blow? (Yes, I know, wind will and can change direction. However, what is the direction that it blows in most of the time?) This will help in the placement of trees and shrubs to protect more delicate plants.
  4. How about rain? Does it rain a lot where you live or seldom? Do you live in a very dry or a very cold climate? Do you get a lot of snow? The plants you choose will need to be suited to your climate.

Japanese Garden, Lethbridge, AB, Canada By the same token, the elements and features that are placed in your landscaping also need to be taking into consideration and should suit the immediate environment around your property. For example, if you wanted to include a large rock in one corner you will most likely need some machinery to move it… are you able to access the yard with this machine?

How large is your yard? If you are thinking of adding a pond feature, do you really have the room to incorporate the plants, trees and other Japanese garden elements into the design or will the pond overwhelm the area?

The above are important considerations before you start drawing up any design plans for your garden. Building a Japanese garden can be an interesting experience ending with a beautiful, calming sanctuary. However, if you don’t stop and take the time to plan out every little step, your Japanese garden could end up being a complete – and expensive – disaster.

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