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creating a Japanese garden.

Hi, I am trying to turn part of my garden into a buddha garden in memory of my son, I am putting a large area into gravel or pebbles, and wondering should they be of a particular type and colour. 





  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Hi Beatrice, there's a whole website dedicated to doing just that which may provide some inspiration:

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    At first glance, I couldn't see anything on that website which answers the original poster's questions about type and colour of stones.

    Is anyone actually knowledgeable about the subject, and have the answers?

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,638

    No personal experience of making one but all th eones i've visited or seen on TV or in books and magazines tend to use grey stones.   There's a whole art, 'm told by a friend who did one, to choosing the large stones as different shapes and sizes represent different things.   The raked gravel paths and spaces tend to be small stones and larger pebbles in various sizes can be placed to represent rivers and pools.

    You then need to combine all this with moss, Japanese acers of differing forms and hues, ferns, hostas and so on to make it a green and tranquil place of reflection.

    I suggest getting a few books out of the library to find some design inspiration.

    I should also like to offer my condolences for the loss of your son.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,076

    What the site does say is that the materials used should be those that occur locally, so in a limestone area limestone would be suitable, in a granite area granite would be used, etc.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • many thanks for the above, Bob I have ordered a book from the site you gave, which I think will help. My garden was well established, with large bamboo, ferns and acers, plants all characteristic with a japanese garden, but a little bit scattered,I have bought a stupa and we are placing a large Buddha at the top of the pond, there is a large area between the pond and the bamboos, and this is where my problem is, trying to bring it all together, hence the stones or pebbles, i have a pile of flint stones to the side of the bamboo, where I was trying to make a tumbling mountain and the stupa at the bottom, but Im afraid it all looks a bit of a disaster. Thank you obelixx for sharing your photos, that garden looks lovely, also thank you for your expression of sympathy, my sons second anniversary is in august, he died in china, so this garden is very important to me, he had a strong liking for buddhism.

  • Hi Beatrice, 

    Have a look at some of the stones from this website 

    If you are going for a japanese style, i would have thought white sand with a handful of large pebbles would suit better than stone. 

    have a look at these for inspiration on Zen gardens:


  • Jean GenieJean Genie Posts: 1,724

    Maybe plant a little Japanese cherry tree ? There are many to choose from and they are symbolic as well.

  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    The best Japanese style garden that I have seen is in Tallinn. It uses pea sized greyish stones over the whole garden and larger (say 5cm+) chippings to form curving rivers (about 30cm wide) in the same stone. Surrounding the pea sized gravel is various Bamboo, Aqualegia, prostrate Junipers that made the mountains The trick is to make the plants islands of mountains with rivers and oceans of stones in the same materials.


  • paul47paul47 Posts: 1

    HI I have had a JAPANESE GARDEN for some years. However I would mention that the stone covered areas do eventually become an area for weeds. My mistake was plant through the weed suppressant matting for a couple of colourful acers. If I put them in pots I could spray the area with weedkiller. My second mistake was to construct the feature in a garden which has deciduous trees which blow leaves into my JAPANESE STYLE garden & presumeable break down to provide the nutrients for the weeds

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