Peace and quiet is the main thing
Whether you want to overhaul your entire garden or just add a touch of Asian flair to one little corner, an Asian-inspired garden offers a wealth of possibilities for both projects. With a bit of creativity and a combination of water, moss, stones and trees, you can create your very own place to relax and unwind. Asian garden design is characterised by an absence of corners and edges wherever possible, with the focus instead on allowing shapes to gently flow into each other. A typical garden is well-balanced and asymmetrical as an odd number of plants and stones is said to be good luck, and in many Asian cultures is believed to "keep bad spirits away". That said, almost no garden looks as well cared for as an Asian garden. And this should come as no surprise as creating such an aesthetically pleasing sight requires particular care and attention.
A world of matching plants
Many people are enchanted by the calmness-enhancing simplicity of Asian gardens. For this reason, you should not go over the top when choosing your plants; stick to plants that will bring out individual features and plants that are eye-catchers in their own right. To make this happen, you could arrange this profusion of plants into little groups — thus creating an especially quiet yet well-ordered scene. When choosing plants that will give you that special hint of Asia, the Japanese maple in all its different varieties will help you to brighten up your garden in all kinds of different colour tones. Likewise, pines and topiaries known as "big bonsai" represent another feast for the eyes. Groundcover, mosses, grasses and the well-loved bamboo give these garden ornaments a sense of place and a backdrop. Bamboos can also make excellent privacy screens, allowing you to enjoy your oasis of calm away from prying eyes. If you have enough space for them in your garden, Japanese maples provide a particularly striking splash of colour. Depending on the variety chosen, the open and closed white or pink blossom will enchant your garden every springtime. Maples symbolise simplicity and purity, and therefore embody the core concept of the Asian garden: the garden as a space to reflect one's own personality. Although flowering plants play a relatively minor role in an Asian garden over the course of the year, plants that are typical of Asian gardens like azaleas and rhododendrons can still be positioned in a way that accentuates the design of the garden. When you have positioned your chosen plants in the space set aside for them, the unplanted beds can then be covered with ornamental gravel.
Asian gardens are known in particular for the rather hypnotising wave pattern of cultivated gravel beds. To create a gravel trap of 15 square metres in size you will need roughly 1.2 metric tonnes of gravel. Raking and contemplating the pattern of the gravel is even recommended by Zen monks as a meditative experience – try it for yourself! To create a typical wave pattern you will need to use gravel with a grain size of 2–4 mm or 4–8 mm. It does not matter whether you prefer the fine or coarse gravel — it provides the Asian garden with plenty of freedom for arranging your own designs. For example, you can embed more little plant islands in the grey sea of gravel, creating another eye-catching haven of peace.
Water has an almost magical effect on us. And that is why no Asian garden should be without the feeling of tranquillity that exudes from the reflection of a garden pond. No matter whether you choose a little round pond, an artificial stream or even a pretty waterfall for your dream garden — the stillness of the water surface or the soothing babbling sound always creates a very special atmosphere.
You can add your own special touch when decorating your water feature to give your Asian garden that special something. For example, a fitting finishing touch for your Asian-inspired garden could be attractive stone figurines in especially weather-resistant granite. Or how about a tea pavilion? Bring a touch of the Far East to your garden!