Sunday, May 29, 2011

Japanese Garden Renovation

Overall view of Japanese Garden after renovation.

About five years ago we have build a Japanese Garden that we could see from our living room. Right from the beginning we have enjoyed the view and serenity of this little island. As all our gardens it was changed or redesigned on yearly bases, usually in the spring. Originally, it had a stylized stream represented by large pebbles. Four years ago I have decided to put in a real water feature with small rock waterfall close to middle and a bamboo water spring spout at very beginning of the stream. It attracted a lot of birds of all sizes, from tiny Chipping Sparrow to large Grackle. The water level is from few millimeters (fraction of an inch) to about 15 centimeters (6 inches).
This spring I had noticed that the stream was very muddy and there was a lot of algae on rocks. That meant only one thing: Complete renovation. It was a slow going in the beginning and very hard on my wonky back. I was on my knees all the time removing and then washing about 150 pounds of rocks and pebbles. Then I had to install new pump, the original one was leaking oil after about 25 years of intermittent use, first as a pump for our hydroponic veggie garden and then in our Japanese garden. After that it was the stream edging turn, I put down bigger flagstone slabs. It was hard and at times frustrating work but it had to be done and it will have to be done again, I’m sure.

Waterfall before renovation.

Same area after all the rocks and pebbles were removed.

Waterfall after the much needed cleanup.

Waterfall close-up. Few years ago I made ceramic tile with Kanji symbols for Tranquility.

This is where stream starts.

Close-up of bamboo spout. Limestone slab has carving of Kanji symbol for Water.

When the ground part was done it was time to prune Japanese Maple that grew a bit too big. It wasn’t hard work but the job was so tedious! Only way to prune was to cut couple branches starting at bottom, stand back and see which branch or twig is next. It took 4 days and I think that I will cut some more. One thing I have learned very quickly that you can’t prune if there is even slight breeze, it completely distorts the shape of a tree. This is why it took so long, but now it is time to sit back and enjoy our garden.

Maple before pruning...

and after.

View at night. Actually, I used 3 camera flashes with my Canon Rebel T1i, all 3 were off camera J.


Kit Sheds said...

I'm so impressed and love the way everything has been planned. The oriental feel on a garden for me makes it more relaxing and very eye catching. Keep up the good work!

Jerry said...

Thank you Kit,
Too bad I can’t add sound to the picture. Actually, I might add a short movie following flow of water and with sound! Thanks for the inspiration.

Maggnet said...

Hi, I just came across your blog while searching how to create the edging technique you have used with little logs/bamboo. I have seen a similar technique elsewhere, but I'm not sure where to start. Could you provide any insights? I'm not sure where I would even find such edging. Thanks! Maggie

Jerry said...

Hello, Maggnet, thanks for the comment. I think that I will add the edging description under the picture. The edging is made out of regular cedar fence posts, my were 3 – 4 inches in diameter. I don’t know which part of the world you are from but here in Canada and I am sure that same applies to Northern half of States, any farm or even lumber yard store should have them. They weather very nicely and last for ever. To construct the actual edging I started with 2-D layout: the shape on ground and the wavy line above. I have decided to have tallest post 16” above ground so I dug out a trench about 24” deep. Starting with 1st one, the shortest one at 3” above ground which made it 27” long total and placed it in position. Next was 3/4” higher (27-3/4”) and was fastened with two deck screws to 1st post. Since longest deck screw I could get was 3-1/2” I had to drill small hole for screw first and then predrill 2 inches deep with a bit size of screw head. This went on till I was done. It is a lot of work but it is solid and is very pleasing. BTW, the logs should be cut at slight angle towards front so water doesn’t stay on top. If you have any more questions let me know, I’ll be happy to help.