Japanese gardens are designed to provide rest for the soul and the eyes by eliminating loud, competing elements and creating a setting that increases connection to the natural world.

To create a Japanese garden, the designer pays close attention to the existing and proposed physical features that shape the “Ma” (negative space) which defines the character of the garden. The designer also carefully considers human scale, emphasizing “eye-level” perspective. In Japanese residential garden design, this view is commonly planned from a primary vantage point (a favorite chair, for example).

Where possible, designs incorporate opportunities present in the existing landscape, utilizing “Shakkei” (borrowed scenery) to enhance the garden’s unique sense of place.

The photos of a Lancaster County, PA, garden (below) display some of the principles and elements often considered when creating Japanese-inspired gardens.

Shared by Betty Hanselman

Gardener’s wife (& Japanese garden enthusiast)