Last Spring I met a young couple at the Home Show that had been waiting to work with me on a design for a couple years. They waited because they needed to get a stamped concrete patio poured before they embarked on their landscape project. A garden with a continuous flow of energy with a Japanese vibe encircling their house was the proposal.
I have been intrigued with the Japanese garden concept for years. I have never really studied it formally. However I visit every Japanese garden I happen to stumble upon and generally buy any book on the subject that has good pictures. The read is generally too painful to endure (I’m a simple man). This year the obscenely obvious theme in Japanese gardens that is apparent probably to everyone, but myself, hit me. Green! Green this, green that. The Japanese garden is almost a textural and shape thing more than a color thing. It’s a style of making everything blend together than stand out.
In the front we used started out with Blue Plumbago (green foliage blue flowers, some Weigela ‘Rubidor’ (yellow foliage), a River Birch, Japanese Maple ‘Tamukeyama,’ and a Weeping White Spruce. I admit the Rubidor Weigela is a bit out there. We used it for color though.
Starting around the side of the house our green thing started. We used some existing Hydrangea macrophylla (big green leaves), Pulmonaria, ‘Burkwood’ Viburnum, Baptesia, and a smattering of various grasses. These plants were planted along the curving edge of the stamped concrete patio. A backdrop of ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae lined the entire backyard to screen the peaceful patio from an apartment complex. We also relocated some Emerald Green Arborvitae to the next side of the yard to taper down from the Emerald Greens. One large Red Maple ‘Somerset’ was planted in one corner of the yard while its three sisters were in the opposite corner.
The show the Red Maples were putting on was outstanding with the accompaniment of the Arborvitae today when I went to visit. The grasses, Viburnums, and Baptesia were all doing their green thing in the patio garden. The calm feeling hit me like it should.
Usually I design with lots of color, shape, and contrast as stated in earlier posts. It was nice to get out of that mode and do something more traditional. We are now planning on adding some Japanese White Pine to the patio garden as well off the corner of the house where a Weeping Cherry transplant job went South.
I really look forward to working on this project in the future. Adding the key elements in the right places to achieve their objective of a continuous flow of tranquil energy wrapped around the house. This job will be another living canvas, not just landscaping. This will be a special project that is not done in a day, but evolves over time.
If you wish to have a similar or even a different theme in your garden please call Shawn at 260-414-6213. All the designs are unique just like the people that request them.