The Japanese Garden: More Trimming less Mowing

Fall colors are peaking here in the Pacific Northwest. Over the weekend I visited the Japanese Garden in Seattle and the colors were just so vivid and beautiful that I had to share this photo!  And no, it has not been Photoshopped.  Honest.

Unlike Western gardens, what I like about Japanese gardens is the minimal amount of grass. The negative space is instead occupied by water or pebbles to give texture and color as contrast.  No matter which direction I pointed my camera, everything looked so balanced.  In such spaces, it’s not the eye of the camera man that is important.  The setting is so well designed that anyone can take good photos.  If you are an amateur photographer, a place like this will really boost one’s confidence!

The great point about less grass for a home owner means less mowing and more trimming. To me, mowing falls into the “manual labor” department and becomes a chore, while trimming can be considered an “art”.  Trimming means shaping your space, using your creativity and defining the energy.   An arborist that trimmed several large trees in our neighborhood used a method he called “windowpane-ing”.  I don’t know if this is a real word and couldn’t find it on the internet. For tall trees with thick growth, such as some of the species of maples we have here, by thinning out the tree by removing thick branches in strategic positions enables one to see through the trees without topping them. Where I live, there are some areas that have wonderful views of either forest, lake or city.  We also have many large trees that grow very quickly!  Once you top a tree, it really has no chance to come back in any beautiful shape or form.  If the height of the tree is not an issue, one way to avoid this is windowpane-ing.   So before you chop down a tree, see  if you can thin out the branches  instead.  However, if your trees are so overgrown and become a hazard, therefore need to be removed, go ahead and take them down.  But, consider replacing them with something that won’t grow so tall.

I’m sure the upkeep of the Japanese Garden is time consuming, as it needs trimming and raking on a regular basis.  But, I do appreciate all the work, thought, care and love that has gone into making this a special place.  I also tried to analyze the garden from a feng shui perspective.

Once inside the gardens, the path is designed as a loop, the clear and simple navigation has good flow. The tea house is set on a slope but opens up and faces a path.  I was a little disappointed that the tea house didn’t face the koi pond. In the old castles of Japan, the sliding doors opened so one can enjoy the view of the garden from inside the rooms.  Sipping tea and enjoying the view would have been my choice, but maybe my tea ceremony teacher would disagree with me.  She likes us to concentrate on what we are doing and appreciate the whole process of the ceremony. But overall, the tranquil spot is a little treasure in Seattle.

If you have a chance this weekend and live in the vicinity, please do visit the Japanese Garden before all the leaves fall. For everyone else, enjoy the fall colors in your neighborhood or just get out to the parks to enjoy time with nature.



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2 Comments

  1. Hi, I found you through the A-list Bloggers forum.
    I love Japanese gardens, and you chose a lovely picture for this interesting post. You have a beautiful blog, I’ll be back 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for visiting Cristina! Yes, Japanese gardens are beautiful but not easy to duplicate. It’s very difficult to imagine what the garden looks like in every season, but I think it looks best in the fall. Please do come back!

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