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Japanese feature

I'd always wanted to give a corner of my garden a bit of a Japanese theme which I finally did a couple of years ago. I was very happy with the results and although I didn't have a water feature, managed to create a mock winding stream made from medium size white pebbles.... all good so far! I was doing some maintenance to it recently, moving some plants that were in the wrong place or outgrown their spot but the 'stream' has started to look a bit grubby, probably from a combination of weather and age etc. Just wondering if anyone can suggest a way to clean the pebbles without having to dismantle the stream and scrub them individually please? Someone suggested a bleach solution but I'm obviously nervous about that damaging plant roots. Any suggestions gratefully accepted thanks 😊


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 34,027
    Bleach will just kill stuff.
    Shade and damp will always create a problem, so if the rocks aren't in sun, they'll just keep discolouring. 
    You'd have to lift and scrub with a brush.
    Difficult to be any more accurate without photos. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks, from what you said I think I could have an ongoing problem. Although it's probably the sunniest part of the garden, I made the feature around an established tree Acer Palmatum Brilliantissimum, which when it's in full leaf casts a lot of shade which isn't going to help at all. Think it could be a long scrubbing job to get them anything like their original 'sparkly white' and at the end of it how long would it last? Hmmm... maybe I need to think of an alternative material or different colour which may not stand out as much but needs less maintenance long term. 👍😊
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 21,852
    Maybe scrub them clean this once and do it thoroughly then dry them.

    Paint with up to 3 layers of clear acrylic varnish then, when dry, replace.   See if it helps keep them dry and stop them growing algae and other grubby looking stuff.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks for your suggestion and it could well work but I think it would be a pretty big job to do and I'm not sure I have the time to tackle it, there's a lot of pebbles involved. I'll maybe get my thinking hat on about an alternative but I do appreciate all ideas 👍
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 34,027
    I would never use white for these sorts of features. Too harsh. Grey is a better foil for Japanese planting, and moss is also part of the whole look.
    Just my opinion.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Already thinking of a change along with your idea by coincidence 😆 I was looking at small Japanese garden designs online and although my white pebbles looked great at first, they conflict with the whole Japanese way that everything should look natural. Saw some false streams made from grey pebbles with rock borders and they looked stunning. So think that could be a plan of action... thanks both for your suggestions 👍
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