Japanese garden in a cold climate


Pictures with images of a Japanese garden are so picturesque that you involuntarily catch yourself wanting to create something similar on your site.

You know, it’s not such a fantastic idea…
It is most realistic to implement it in a small area of ​​​​the yard or country 6 acres. The main thing is that the plot is protected from cold winds. A house, other buildings and, of course, a fence can act as a wind screen.

IMPORTANT: the space allotted for a Japanese garden in the realities of our climate should not be spacious. In such chamber conditions it will be both warmer and more comfortable, which is very important for delicate exotics.
We have decided on the conditions, we move on to the mystery of landscape design.
Yes, yes, it is stylization, because only those who have mastered this art and have seen with their own eyes the real gardens of this amazing country will create a real Japanese garden.

The second reason is the wrong climate and the wrong topography. And «control shot»: your house is definitely not a Japanese hut with walls made of paper and bamboo))) Therefore, it’s just a stylization…

On a completely “bare” landscape, you can quickly create a stylized Japanese landscape, but it will be very expensive and … not interesting)))

You will have to buy a lot of adult exotics and the picture of the finished garden will change slightly — depending on the change of seasons.

It is another matter to slowly, year after year, create and observe the development of the landscape. And unlike other garden styles, the Japanese favors just this option.
A little explanation is needed here.
Japanese design culture is a whole philosophy of contemplating the beauty and harmony of the surrounding space.
What does everyone know about the Japanese landscape?
Firstly, this is a rock garden, where the shape, size, texture and, most importantly, the location of each component is important.
Secondly, these are niwaki trees (garden bonsai). Their form determines the character and carries a certain semantic load.
Thirdly, this is an exotic Japanese landscape with rich colors and small sizes. Size, in such a garden, just matters, since our harsh climate involve the creation of a garden in a limited space.
You can grow a Japanese garden (or rather, its stylization) from scratch by going through all three stages in the sequence in which they are presented above. Therefore, from the first year, the landscape will be interesting and extraordinary.
If you are a complete beginner, I recommend starting with several textured stones of the same breed, but of different calibers (from 50 to 100 cm in diameter).

There is no need to pour a thick layer of sand around, imitating a water surface in an authentic garden. Enough short-cut lawn and sand and gravel paths.

Place the stones at a point that is visible from the entrance to the courtyard and from the windows at the same time.

The photo shows a green moss rug enveloping the natural unevenness of the relief. There are few places where the climate is so favorable, because moss can be replaced with bryozoan.

Shading the beauty of the stone in our climate is easiest with junipers. They are frost- and drought-resistant, fast-growing species can become the basis for the formation of nivaki.

Another textured and versatile plant is boxwood. It grows slowly, but from it, like from plasticine, you can “sculpt” any shape with a haircut. In the rock garden, the most popular form is an imitation of a rounded stone.

If boxwood does not winter well in your area, then you can find an alternative among undersized thujas or miniature spruces, again, the specimen you have chosen should be grown in a local nursery and climate-adapted.

Boxwoods, thujas and spruces, unlike junipers, require watering during the dry season. A thick layer of wood mulch will help minimize the risk of drying out.

There are two wonderful deciduous shrubs that are no less supportive of shearing and shaping than the previous ones. These are Japanese spirea and shrubby cinquefoil (pictured). Ideal for creating lively, low-growing, streamlined forms in the spirit of a Japanese garden…

Back to stones…

The climate in Japan is humid and stones even in the open are covered with moss. Yours will remain bare and will require shade to create conditions for the growth of moss.

Therefore, it makes sense to immediately plant those trees along the perimeter, which will later become the basis of a shady landscape. There is no reason to single them out with dumping or patterns of stones. The main element of the garden at this stage is the stones, so all the attention to them.
To emphasize the stylistic affiliation of the garden, you can place style attributes — stone lanterns — under the paws of junipers or at the bends of the paths. But do not get carried away — Japanese philosophy does not tolerate an abundance of decor.

It is worth considering that your house has a style of architecture that is foreign than a garden, so the presence of emphasized Japanese elements should be avoided: bamboo decor and characteristic figurines will be out of place here.

The philosophy of Japanese style is not strictly following the canons and copying. Harmony and beauty of naturalness rule the ball here.

Every detail must be carefully thought out. So, for example, the next stage is the creation of topiary forms in the form of exotic outlines of nivaki trees. Take a closer look at which of the already grown boxwoods or junipers can apply for this «position».

I don’t know where your imagination can take you, but I recommend not to abuse the number of such forms and their concentration per square meter. One successful silhouette, but in the most viewed place will be quite enough. Moreover, it is required to form nivaki every season, otherwise nature will take its toll and it will be problematic to restore a neglected garden bonsai.

In ten years, when the trees planted along the perimeter grow, a shadow will appear, which is so necessary for the feeling of a real Japanese garden as such.

In a cool, damp shade, the stones will grow with moss, and so that the dry, sharply continental climate does not spoil the “picture”, you can equip some stones with “wet places” — hollow out recesses in which, after watering and rains, water will stagnate, feeding the green “fur coat”.

It is more difficult, but more effective to turn such a stone into a fountain. I repeat, the effect of moss-covered stones can only be achieved in conditions of wet shade and calmness.

Under the trees, a favorable environment will be formed for the growth of ferns, geyher, brunner, hosts.

If we talk about authentic details, then a mini-reservoir in stone is one of the attributes of a Japanese garden at Buddhist temples, which has a ritual meaning. But more about this in a separate article.

rhododendrons and boxwoods in a Japanese garden

To make a Japanese garden bright, it is important to choose the right ensemble of woody plants.

Let’s be realistic: not all authentic Japanese garden plants are able to survive frosty winters, some of them can winter with shelter, some of them will not even survive such conditions.

Therefore, part of the plants can be replaced by ours, similar in color and always undersized (up to 5 m in height in adulthood) or shrubs.

Almost any tree or bush can be formed into the desired shape: with a bare trunk (or trunks) and an umbrella or rounded crown.

LIST OF PLANTSsuitable for creating a Japanese garden is presented in this article.

In the photo: a garden in Japan. A small area is not a hindrance at all — there is water and stones and silhouette plants and … mountains grown from bushes)))

In the photo: as you can see, a beautiful Japanese garden is not so much a feature with hard-to-remember names, but an atmosphere of harmony with nature and purity of lines…

In the photo: a stylization of a Japanese garden in an English estate.

And this photo for inspiration: modern Japanese (in the sense located in Japan) landscape: simple and perfect…

What else to read on the site:

Garden fountains and waterfalls

Maybe, the presence of a fountain on the site may seem like a whim to some, but everyone decides for himself. Rest under the cool canopy of the garden will be doubly pleasant if the singing of birds and the chirping of grasshoppers sound against the background of murmuring water…

No matter how good the bright flowering greenery of the garden is, but without contrasting and, at the same time, complementary components, it looks somewhat monotonous. It is on the contrast of the living and the dead, the mobile and the static…

Fireplace, outdoor hearth

hearth has long been considered the personification of home comfort, but this does not mean at all that a measured rest outside the walls of the house cannot be accompanied by a bewitching dance of fire. Set up a hearth in your yard or garden…


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