Japanese gardens are often seen as a single style when in fact there are several types of Japanese gardens with different ancient history. This makes it more difficult for the people in the West to fully understand their features and meaning. Japanese gardens are created for contemplation instead of family play or dining.
However, at their heart, they share some common characteristics. Balanced asymmetry is favored over symmetry. The harmonious layouts are created mixing several elements combined vertically and horizontally to create a perspective landscape.
The balance of stepping stones, hard rocks and gravel combined with clipped shrubs and trees in a natural form, creates a contrast that appeals to anyone.
Several books have been written fully dedicated on the subject of Japanese gardens.
Main elements of Japanese gardens
1. Gravel and rocks: Gravel represents the water and rocks represent islands. The position and orientation of the islands is done with great care and meaning.
2. Stepping stones: are used mainly in tea gardens as the route for the tea ceremony;
3. Ornaments: such as lanterns are placed in path way to the tea ceremony;
4. Water and Ponds: are used as reflective surfaces or as stone water basins;
5. Japanese plants: such as Acer palmatum trees, Japanese pines, azaleas and Bamboos are plants every japanese garden must have.