Main Project Inspiration: Japanese Gardens and Bonsai

For my main project I want to do something related to Japanese zen gardens and bonsai trees. The process of bonsai is thousands of years old and is the process of keeping a tree small, but allowing it to age to mimic real life on a small scale. I want to do this same thing, but with the entire garden. I have not decided about the entire layout of the whole thing, but there are a few aspects I would like to have.

Moving Water

moving water is an integral part of Japanese gardens as they are a reflection of nature itself. Often times large scale gardens will have a waterfall or large moving water feature. In addition to this there are small water fountains called shishi odoshi that are made of bamboo and fill with water before pouring out creating a light tapping noise to startle animals that might eat from the gardens. To do either of these I will need a pump to move water from a reservoir to a higher spot to flow down. I will have the pump hidden under the garden.

Image result for japanese water fountainImage result for japanese garden waterfall

Handmade Wooden Structure

I thoroughly enjoyed working with wood on the last project and plan on incorporating that into this project as well. As an ambitious step I would love to recreate a Japanese style building only held together with joinery as is traditional in Japanese architecture. If that becomes too daunting I alternatively could create a waterwheel, small gate, or other traditional aspects of Japanese gardens.

Image result for japanese gardens

living things

To make my miniature garden a true garden I would like to incorporate plants. Specifically I would like to incorporate moss to create a grass like effect on the landscape and potentially a small bonsai tree. If I end up incorporating a small body of water at the bottom I may put in goldfish like tiny koi fish

Image result for japanese mossImage result for juniper bonsai tree

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Miles! I really like your inspiration for this project. I have been to the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco and it has all of the same features that you listed in your post. I find these gardens to have a peaceful aesthetic to them and I am excited to see what you come up with!

  • Hi Miles! I love your idea! My question for you is how big would your garden be? Table sized? Smaller? Also, I think it could be cool to incorporate a zen rock garden.

    • Miles Radakovitz
      February 23, 2020 7:24 pm

      My original intention would be a 2’x2′ space incorporating a rock/ rakable zen garden as well, but with full transparency I am kind of dissuaded from this idea by the lack of functionality inherent in it’s construction and will most likely be veering my project toward the more utilitarian of things.


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