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Japanese inspired design

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Southern Magnolia, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Southern Magnolia

    Southern Magnolia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I have a project that I am hoping to get some advice on. Customer is looking for a Japanese inspired area. I've attached pics (horrible resolution) below. They go in order from the right side over to the left. It'd hard to see in the pics, the area goes back up a slight hill.

    We are clearing the area on Sat. to get a better look at what is underneath and set a def. layout. They have decided to use black mulch as ground cover instead of rocks for the easier upkeep. In the third pic, a path of river rock is going to lead up the hill to a small teak bridge, with a lantern or Buddha on the other side. As you can 'kinda' see from the pics, it's heavily shaded.

    I am looking for ideas on shade tolerant shrubs and anything else you guys think would go with the Japanese theme. We are sticking with a "less is more" or and open feel.


    far right2.jpg



  2. Southern Magnolia

    Southern Magnolia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    OK I should have realized that the pics would be backwards. Sorry about that.
  3. RonB

    RonB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 427

  4. Southern Magnolia

    Southern Magnolia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Here's how it looks with the black mulch. We have decided to add 2 Red Dragons, in the process of finding a large Buddha statue, and will be adding a small path and foot bridge over the top of the hill.

    We took out all of the ivy and growth, took out a few of the lower branches and saplings. Total time for this - 9 hours, 2 people and 6 yards of mulch.

  5. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I agree less is more, so for starters I would have removed a few more trees. You want your path to be a different material. I would go with 1" Grey Mexican beach pebbles turned on edge set in cement. You can make some interesting patterns with them. If they are doing it on the cheap some simple pea gravel will also work but be hard to maintain.

    I would get one good sized Black Pine as a focal point. Use some Black Bamboo for screening, I can see through the woods. When they get to their destination they should see nothing but nature. Hopefully they wont hear anything either.

    l Stay away from flowering shrubs, use plants with colored foliage if needed, different shades of green. Just keep it simple.
  6. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,248

    Well, I do not want to hurt your feeling, but all of the red dragons, Buddha, pagodas, bridges that you could put into the space will not portray a Japanese garden. It is the simplicity,the way and type of pruning of the shrubs, the placement of plants that develop a theme. Choose some Japanese Maples with many exposed branches to balance the plant. Eastern Art is a balance of the earth and sky, light and dark, cool and warm. One beautiful rock with it's background that may be a weeping and flowing golden thread cypress higher than the rock with the contrast of color would work, or where a stream of light coming through the folliage hit it is an example of good placement of the subject plant. You've got to work with subject and background to achieve the desired effect. To give you ideas here would be lying to you. You must first see with your heart and mind; then the eyes.
    Art is something that you have got to live, something that comes from your soul, something that you feel is so beautiful that it has to exist.
    I have a Masters in Art with over 50 years experience and would give you some suggestions on your ideas that might help you. Just run them by if you would like and take advise or leave it. Look at many pieces of Japanese Art before you start putting down a bunch of generic crap that is supposed to be Japanese. Dragons are really from Chinese Culture anyway.
    I know I sound arrogant. However I have seen to much wrong depiction and efforts that I might save you some embarrassment.
    Where are you in SC?
  7. Southern Magnolia

    Southern Magnolia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    You are not hurting my feelings at all. I'm just doing what the client wants. They would really like to see a Japanese Maple on the hill top, the Buddha is a 'must", as is the foot bridge.

    The "Red Dragon" I was referring to is a Japanese Maple that will grow to about 4-5'. One is going, looking at the pic., on the left at the top of the hill and the other is going on the right at the base of the hill. As for the Buddha, as soon as we find one that they like, we will decide where that is going. The pathway will lead just over the top of the hill (which leads to the golf course, did i mention the hill is a magnet for golf balls, we must have found 100 easy cleaning out the area. )

    @AZ - I agree that less is more. I would have liked to take down 2 trees on the left. I should mention, and it's hard to see in the pic, there is a tree midway up the incline, behind the paired trees on the left that will be coming down. However, it was decided that they wanted to keep the larger, already established trees.

    We have discussed a "wall" of pruned shrubs along the back to block out the view through the trees, however, it seems there are opposing views on whether or not to do so at this time.

    Thank you all for your input and advice, I do appreciate it!

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