I did make sure, though, that I kept to safer territory and only designed European gardens for them.Yoko Kawaguchi is a passionate gardener and has studied Japanese gardens of many types.But, she points out, Zen gardens are always related to temples.
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When you are working with a plot just three metres by five metres or smaller, which is the size of many courtyard or dry gravel gardens, this is important. Many Japanese people now love roses and other plants that give colour, herbaceous plants especially.
There are many situations here, such as roof gardens, tiny low-maintenance spaces and basement gardens, where features of a Japanese garden would work brilliantly. Yoko has added peonies to hers, but she has used them in a more Japanese way by positioning them near her shed, so she cannot see them from her kitchen but “discovers” them when she pops down the path to her garden building.
I find it fascinating to observe the way the Japanese play with space, prune and tend their plants and use their gardens.
While working extensively in Japan a few years ago, I took the opportunity to visit some of their amazing gardens, both traditional and modern.
Japanese gardens favour blank space, with carefully raked gravel or sheets of moss and occasional plants.