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Hello From Marple, UK

Started by Britmedic, October 20, 2012, 03:10:40 PM

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Hello There!

Just a quick introduction to the forum,  I have recently changed my back garden into a tea/zen garden and was wondering what the experts think?  There is a story to it,  more of which later.....

All the best,



Britmedic...  gosh, I'm glad I'm not an expert.
If I was I would have to think.   :o
.. and I've known some children that have better insights than I.

I'd like to hear your story as most Japanese gardens have a story behind them somewhere, if one knows what to read and how to read it.  :) and the garden should tell people what to think. What should we think?

Observationally, I am puzzled over 2 things: first the position of the water flume is confusing for me, as the position normally tells me where the main view is, as a directional sign post. Or, the flume is in the best position for all views. In some cases I've heard that the position is entirely a personal taste issue.
From my personal observation and taste, I gather that the main view is definitely not from the deck or enclosure, nor from where the photograph was taken. And it is not from the walkway as the flume direction indicates to 'go right', yet the enclosure is 'left' of the purification vessel, and before the purification vessel (that becomes a destination). And there is no pathway leading to the right so that one can purify oneself on the way to ones destination.
   so,.. where is the main view? or is this part of the story?
And I gather the garden has not filled in yet, as you say, "recently changed'...

second observation is a personal preference for having a level basin rather than one that is tilted. This way, in my opinion, the water keeps the majority of the stone wet and shows more beauty of the stonework.
  looking forward to the story..       welcome to the forum...            edzard


You are right on a couple of points,  the main viewpoint is from my living room,  so I have taken a picture today to try and orientate you to this primary spot,  please see attached.

I must admit that I prefer the tetsubachi at a slight angle so that you get the contrast between the wet and dry granite,  space was at a premium so the theory is the visitor will have to use the basin first and then transit back via the fumiwaki-ishi to the machai.  I wanted it in that corner to make best use of overall space,  the theory being that there was not enogh room to construct a teahouse  so, in effect, the main building becomes the tea house,  a real situation in England!

I must admit that the placing of the water spout did not feature in my planning but I suppose using the logic you have described,   it does draw the eye to the oribe lantern,  ( what will be ) a mossy mound and the sanzon rock arrangement at the end.  Unfortunatly, my budget did not strech to any more tobi-ishi! 

I like it, and considering it was my first ever attempt at any gardening,  let alone a Japanese one,  I don`t think I`ve done too bad.  Any other useful and practical guidance is most gratefully recieved.


Britmedic... thank you for the photo and the clarification.
I think you've done an excellent job of moiling especially for the first time around. Well-done! It is clean, crisp.

as for further useful or practical guidance I am not certain I would have any because useful guidance is only useful if it is useful to the recipient that would be willing to alter what exists. And,  :)  you have already decided the usefulness of the space. Besides, you are the Author of the garden, not I.

As a result I only have my preferred experiences and observations to offer, such as:
- you have an awful lot of space, enough for a teahouse with an inner and outer roji with machiai. For Japan that is a large space.
- there certainly is beauty in contrast, though a tea garden, for me, is about harmony; the walk through the forest to the hermitage, rather than contrast (in my opinion)

this is of course what conversations are made of, wherein there is neither winning nor losing, right nor wrong, as the ideologic beauty in each garden only becomes clearer and refines over time through use and maintenance.
As with most gardens, one needs to live with them for a while to figure out what to tweak next as well as how to manage it.

Perhaps what could be suggested is to research a bit into the placement of the ladle that you have on the tetsubachi.
      very interesting... and I suspect that George would be a better judge of British Japanese gardens than I as the evolution and placements presented, came to rest differently in the UK through their World Expositions, than in the rest of the worlds Expositions.     
p.s.   what would the 'zen' part of the garden be? is there an Zen idea that goes with this garden? edzard


Britmedic, I am completely distracted from the Japanese Garden by that beautiful stone wall.  While covering that wall up would be an unthinkable crime, i might suggest you add a low bamboo wall/fence at the edge of the gravel area and immediately behind the tsukubai.  When i say low i mean less than a meter - maybe .5 or a little more at the most.  I think that would be just enough to offer enclosure of the Japanese emotion while not hiding the beauty of that wall.  The wall then moves from being part of your Japanese garden to being background.  Still enjoyable yet not competing so much. 

What do you all think of this possibility?


The back wall is from an old orchard that was where my house is now and does indeed make a nice feature,  so part of my decision to go down the Japanese style route was a way to show it off.  From the research I did,  it fitted in with the Japanese aesthetic but your suggestion to put a fence in is intriging - something like a four eyed fence?  There is not much space at the back and I might have to re plant the cherry tree but I think your idea is interesting.... any ideas where I can find out how to do it?

george in the uk

I like your stone wall and what I would do if it was mine would be to build an ASUMAYA with an open front and the stone wall at the back, BUT make the roof high enough to slope into the garden but allso HIDE those houses behind. if you don't know what I mean take a look at my website to see my old asumaya.


Of course!  See the reference section on fences.  This one is rather simple and would do what i am talking about visually.  http://japanesegardening.org/reference/yotsume_gaki.html

And i dont believe you would need to move anything for this fence.


Quote from: Britmedic on October 20, 2012, 03:10:40 PM
Hello There!

Just a quick introduction to the forum,  I have recently changed my back garden into a tea/zen garden and was wondering what the experts think?  There is a story to it,  more of which later.....

All the best,


Hi George!


Best Regards!  zvone