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Don Pylant, April, 2021


Started by edenborn, May 13, 2009, 06:05:30 AM

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I have loads of bricks laying about from the previous owners and I tend to smash a few with a hammer and throw down the planting area Ive dug up for the sake of drainage. I will certainly share photos as soon as any progress is made.  :)


After several hours of doubt and retries I've come up with a basic outline of the graveled area. I havent added any "islands" as of yet and the wooden stakes which contain the fargesia rufa's in the upper right hand corner will have to be moved. Ive read the rules on the forum about having to be nice but I really want people to scrutinize the design and let me honestly know if im on the right track. If I'm not then please point me in the right direction with suggestions or perhaps your own outlines on the picture.  :)
If it is ok but you feel your idea's would look better than even these opinions would be grateful. Thank you.


Please provide a picture from the viewing point.  Also, do you have an alternate path to get around this area?  You do know that a gravel area near a treed area is high maintenance?

Consider putting down a small area of your gravel to make sure it is the affect you want before you do the whole area.  In famous gardens with raked gravel areas, when snow falls and removes the contrasting color of the moss/plants areas, the effect is lost.  The test area will show you weather you have the contrast high enough to be pleasing.

Why have you brought the area to a point instead of having it meet the patio?  Again, we need the view from your primary viewing area.


May 17, 2009, 05:01:04 PM #18 Last Edit: May 17, 2009, 05:09:12 PM by Jando
Richard, Don has made some valid points and at the bottom of the photo I would continue your curve instead of it going between the planting areas.  The small grass area between your existing plantings would be a par;t of the existing planting areas.  If you need a pass through to another area of your yard just add stepping stones there.  I would not include the patio in the gavel but have a soft curve around that end of the garden and take the point out. The gravel area would be an island.

Raked gravel isn't my choice because of the the heavy upkeep. But that is my personal choice for my garden.  I admire those who do have the time and patients for it.

More for you to think about.



All points made are valid and i do have another area which also would do nicely but the mrs. will have nothing to do with it so ill be stuck with the area under the Sakura. My first thought was to have the main focal point from between the 2 half-circle planting areas to the left of the picture below but i think i just might follow jandos idea and instead create a large joined planting area there. I also like the idea about having the gravel following past and behind though not so that it will join up with the patio. that section around the patio is reserved for sheared red japanese azaleas.

the main viewing point would abviously be alot closer to the area but for the sake of fitting everything onto the photo i had to stand a far bit back.



How beautiful it is snowing blossoms.  Pruning your tree would help a lot.  Look at photos and notice how light travels through the cherry trees in gardens in Japan.  Is now the time for pruning after they flower?  It will probably take several years too prune your tree properly.  It looks like it has great bones.




I have to agree. I love it when it snows in pinks in summer.  :)

Ive removed all the dead branches from the tree a few monthes back. im not sure if it was the right time but i certainly didnt want to cut into it during summer. I heard that trees generally bleed alot during its growth period. the tree is my gardens most sacred possession and it makes me reluctant to start pruning off branches. the "crown" of the tree is approximately 8 meters from tip to tip and it really does look like a big floating pink cloud.  ;)

Something i have considered though is building a frame out of bamboo around the tree to support the heavy branches.


Among Japanese gardeners in Japan, there is a joke about knowing how to prune a cherry tree.  The answer is, "Don't."


Thank you Don for confirming that. I like it the way it is and became uncertain. hehehe.  :)


Ive now been to the gravel pits and found what I believe would be a nice size. After some time i did however wonder if it perhaps was too small? What do you think? Im thinking it will easily wash apart with rain?

They even had some really nice big chunks of mountain rock which was solid black in color, I've got a few in mind which im thinking about adopting.

And one last picture just for good measure. My Magnolia Liliiflora Nigra has finally bloomed out!  :D


June, Richard

as Don advised against the pruning, I know from Yama san the same and  that the cherries in Japan are different varieties than our  cherries. But even the fruit bearing cherries, as I remember,are  huge trees, not pruned.
Lots of ch.trees have some fungi or virus infection, we used a kind of spray early in the spring, before the leaves came out. The infected branches turned black with dry leaves. Now , after 2 years spraying, no problem. But our tree was damaged, once a soil delivey truck backed in and broke one huge branch. Since the tree is lopsided.

Even in this cold spring, the tree bloomed for my birth's day, end of April. 



Hi Andrea,

Nice to have you join the thread! That cherry tree you got there is a sweetheart. We have a fruit bearing/white flowering cherry in our backyard and that too has only been pruned to remove dead/damaged branches and its probably twice the size of our japanese cherry.

Anyone have any input on the gravel i photoed? Feels like this thread soon is going to be moved to the plants section.  ;D


Great cherry Andrea, and I didn't realize you couldn't prune a cherry tree.

I am not certain Richard but I think the gravel has to be larger to hold its shape.  I am sure someone will chime in with a proper answer.  I do like the color.  And the blossoms were worth waiting for they are beautiful and the color is really cool.



This is just a suggestion...  and only if it is cost effective and reasonable for you.
Would it be possible for you to purchase a small test quantity of the gravel pictured and perhaps a few of the dark colored stones you considered adopting (certainly much smaller sized ones of the same color and texture for testing).
My idea would be to lay out a sample design with the stone and gravel in the area you plan to redesign. (don't thing you would need a large amount) That way you can view your materials together to determine if they are cohesive and provide the effect you are looking for. (also if you have your listed maples that would be a great opportunity to see their cohesiveness with these materials). (the textures, colors, patterns, sunlight, shadow, etc.)   
Don or someone else who may know... I believe I read somewhere that there was a recommended measured size for gravel. anyway, I would test that gravel both wet and dry to see if it holds a pattern. Even the best gravel will of course eventually lose the patterns... That's what makes raking soo much fun. 

Good luck,  Patch.


Try to find something around 1/4 inch with angular sides like crushed stone, not river stone with rounded surfaces.  Make sure it is double-washed or you will be pulling weeds constantly, even though I am sure you will be putting down permeable barrier cloth.


thank you,

yes the gravel is smaller than 1/4 inch. and I also read somewhere that the ideal measurement should be 4-8mm which is equivelant in inches (1/4 inch = 6.25mm). The stone is crushed and does not have a smooth surface. I'll be using double layered geotextile as experience has taught me that 1 layer sometimes isnt enough to keep weeds away.

Getting a sample quantity sounds like a very good idea. Ill see what i can pull off but at this time i feel im still in the designing phase and have yet to get alot done here.

In regards to viewing point, wouldnt it be more attractive having it at a long and narrow area to get a sense of depth from the boulders/islands instead of on the longside?