Residential Japanese garden border

Discussion in 'Japanese Gardens' started by mbuto, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. mbuto

    mbuto New Member

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    Hello folks,

    I have a fairly typical older house in Coquitlam. There are already some design elements installed by a local Japanese landscaper. However, this past winter saw some significant plumbing activity and a large part of the yard is a mess. I'd like to complete the Japanese theme, but I don't know how to deal with the property border on one side. The lot faces north, and on the western edge, from curb to house, is a large (7' plus) cedar hedge. When I look at the site to imagine a possible design, that hedge is so out of place. Neighbor wants to keep it (can't blame them).

    I'm looking for suggestions to transition between that hedge and any other kind of design element. There is no current path between the houses.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  2. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    A row of clumping bamboos can soften the transition nicely, and lead into a more typically 'Japanese' look. Look at the Fargesias especially. Perhaps azaleas as well/instead.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Maybe look at some Japanese gardening books or web sites for possible examples of similar situations to see how those were handled. You might also hit on something at a local Japanese garden or similarly themed installation that would open a window for you. Off the top of my head there is the Japanese garden on the UBC campus and the classical Chinese garden in I think the Asian part of Vancouver.
     
  4. mbuto

    mbuto New Member

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    I suspect the bamboo would end up being quite thick if it was tall enough to (mostly) cover the hedge?

    Most Japanese gardens (photo or live) seem to have either no apparent boundary, or its a natural one (pine trees, or rock). More urban boundary's like fences and buildings seem to work well, but the cedar just looks soooo wrong.

    Maybe a wall of glaring neon signs to make it look like downtown Tokyo? :-)
     
  5. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes, most of the clumping types and Fargesias for sure are quite dense, with lots of small culms and leaves. F. robusta is more upright and shows it's culms, but these too are tightly spaced.

    Maybe look to Japanese courtyard gardens (a search for this term will yield lots of images) for inspiration, which tend to (by definition) be designed for areas with hard and obvious boundaries.
     
  6. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    People often make the mistake of thinking that they need to hide or cover an unattractive feature, but this is rarely necessary. You should not seek to make the hedge invisible, but rather unnoticeable - a much easier goal to achieve.
    The human eye is naturally drawn to anything that is 'not like the others', especially if it is in the foreground, so even a few carefully selected and arranged bamboo clumps planted close to the hedge could be effective in creating a new asian 'backdrop' for the rest of your garden. Adding a large attractive mossy rock or other low feature can also help draw the eye downward away from the cedar hedge.

    Since the hedge precludes you from stealing distant views I agree with woodschmoe's suggestion to look at courtyard gardens for inspiration. The Sun Yat Sen garden and the adjacent city park are certainly worth a visit for ideas. Take the guided tour if you can; it's excellent.
     
  7. mbuto

    mbuto New Member

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    Hiding it would require the 8' x 25' wall of neon signs I mentioned earlier, so I know that won't work.

    Not that the hedge is unattractive - it just doesn't fit. Think white shoes after labour day :-)

    As I look through examples of courtyard gardens, the borders are predominantly hard surface - houses or other structures. I think Cedar hedges are natural, but don't happen in nature, so that's why they don't fit in.

    However, I think I found a solution. A lattice fence made up of widely spaced thin bamboo. https://flic.kr/p/rmbyRE

    What do you think?
     
  8. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes, that's exactly the sort of distraction that will catch the eye and help to establish an 'Asian' feel. Inexpensive, non-invasive, and doesn't take up much extra space
     

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