Ornamental Elegance: How To Create A Japanese Inspired Garden

Flickr Image: jen

Even though it’s currently winter, it’s never too early to start planning your garden for next year, especially if you’ve got a bare plot of land or have just moved house. Japanese gardens are quiet, peaceful places of relaxation and meditation, drawing inspiration from painted rocks, sand, water, bamboo, flowering plants, meditation statues and bridges to create a natural, organic place of balance and symmetry. All these elements are easy to add into your existing garden, as well as a wonderful way to utilise the full potential of a smaller space, so it’s no wonder that Japanese style gardens continue to be a horticultural favourite!
Flickr Image: Ezry Abdul Rahman

Build Mysterious Paths
The Japanese are unfailingly polite, endlessly patient and incredibly hardworking and this shows particularly in the usage of winding paths, stepping stones and forest trails in their gardens. The idea here is to draw the eye past what can be seen and instead consider the path that wanders away into the distance. Why not place a small wooden or stone pagoda or statue in the middle of the pathway? That way visitors will feel intrigued by what they have discovered so far and be inspired to explore further at the same time as enjoying the various shrubs, flowers and grasses that caress the edges of the stone, or concrete blocks. Try to plant evergreen trees and shrubs that will provide colour and texture all year round, as well as emulating the creative aspect of your garden by appearing in a range of different shapes.

Flickr Image: Prayitno

It’s All About Reflection

If your garden is big enough consider adding a zig-zag bridge. Not only are these bridges very pretty but they’re supposed to bring you luck, legend says evil spirits can only walk in straight lines and hence become trapped by the bridge. Add large water features such as ornamental waterfalls, ponds, and mini streams to allow the soothing sound of water burbling to permeate your little oasis of calm as well as being a water source for any animals in the area. To give the edges of a pond texture plant ornamental grasses, willows, and papyrus that’ll rustle gently in the breeze. Fill your pond with water, add in water plants, lilies, and grasses that’ll encourage frogs and insects to investigate before adding some koi carp. Then simply place some bridgman garden furniture, or wicker chairs beside it and enjoy watching the fish explore their new home.

Flickr Image: Güldem Üstün

Pretty Pavilions And Charming Teahouses  
Thanks to the ancient custom of the tea ceremony along with the honor of enjoying intricate performances by Japanese Geisha’s, private pavilions and special tea houses have long been featured in Japanese design. Instead of a barbecue pit or outdoor terrace why not construct a pavilion of bamboo or wood? Not only will your garden benefit from the inclusion of eco- friendly materials and look more natural, but pavilions are great focal points for entertaining as well as being a lovely spot to sit and read near on a summer's day. In the evenings try to dot small, storm lanterns around the paths as they'll make beautiful, glowing additions to the garden.

Perfect Parsnips for Christmas

Parsnips are one of the best vegetables for winter with a lovey nutty taste and there are so many wonderful ways to prepare them. Heres a few I love.

Parmesan crusted Parsnips.
Cook the parsnips in boiling salted water until tender. Add oil to baking tray and sprinkle grated parmesan, polenta and mustard powder, heat for about five minutes and then add the parsnips, and transfer the tray to the oven cooking for about 30 to 40 minutes turning at least once.

Parsnip Crisps.
Use a swivel blade peeler to peel strips from the parsnips. Coat them in oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place them in backing trays in single layers and bake for about 30 minutes until they are crisp  Grind sea salt over them and eat them hot.

Roast parsnips
Cut your parsnips into bite sized chunks and simmer in boiling water for about five minutes. Preheat your oven and a baking tray with oil. Remove the parsnips and add them to the hot tray, ensuring you coat them all in the oil. Roast for about 30 to 40 minutes turning at least once. Serve whilst hot.

If you do make the crisps then its worth making a lot at they are very moorish and I find they get eaten very quickly. You can make vegetable crisps from other vegetables for extra variety.

Do These Things For A Magical Looking Garden

Having a magical looking garden can be one of the best additions to your home. Not only will it up the value of your home, it’ll give you somewhere to spend time, whether you’re on your own or with friends. If you want somewhere tranquil to relax and reflect, make your garden the ideal spot! Do these things for a magical looking garden if this sounds good to you:

Plant Beautiful Flowers
There’s no way you can have a magical looking garden without planting flowers. Make sure you plant plenty of beautiful flowers that you can maintain to add to the look of your garden. Although many flowers will need regular maintenance, this doesn’t have to be hard to do. In fact, you should enjoy it! There are apps that can help you to do this, so if you need a nudge when it’s time to water them and fertilize the soil, that’s what you can get.

Consider Adding A Stone Path
Stone paths can have a really magical feel to them, especially if they are cobbled or winding in any way. You may need to level out your garden and make big changes to include one of these if you have nothing like it already. It could be a good idea to sketch out what you want it to look like and go from there. You may need professional help if you’re unsure - you want to make sure you get this right!


Find The Right Kind Of Lighting
Having the right kind of lighting is crucial for a magical looking garden. You can have different kinds depending on what you want to use your garden for. If you’re planning on using your garden to socialize, you’ll need a strong, reliable lighting source. Garden led lights can be a great choice for this. However, you could also look at fairy lights, lanterns, and solar lighting.

Get Some Furniture That Adds To The Effect
Make sure you have furniture in your garden that adds to the magical effect you’re going for. Make sure it’s sturdy and durable enough to withstand the elements. You could go for something quite vintage looking, but there are so many different styles that could work. Make sure you have plenty of seating if you usually entertain, and don't’ forget to place it somewhere suitable. If you have a quiet spot in the garden, it could be a good idea to put it there.

Add Accessories
There are so many accessories that will help your garden to look even more magical. You could even create a mini fairy garden somewhere with little fairy ornaments and a door. Make sure you add some kind of water feature too, as this always creates a tranquil effect.

Start doing these things right away and you’ll have a magical looking garden by the time you’re finished! If you have any ideas or tips you think would work for this theme, then make sure you leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

Gardening Trends To Re-Inspire Your Hobby

Gardening is something that many people enjoy as a hobby. It’s an opportunity to be creative, grow something from nothing, or just spend time in the great outdoors. A lot of people take real pride in their garden areas, and their hobby can go from strength to strength. However, some people can lose sight of their gardening purpose, so I thought I would share with you some of the gardening trends that could re-inspire that gardening spark inside of you hope. Re-igniting that hobby once more.

Colored structures are making a comeback

No longer do you have to hide your shed, storage areas or summer houses. Making them look like part of the garden. Now you can get inspired with color once more and enjoy making features out of your fences and garden structures. It used to be seen that these kinds of things were taking the design away from the garden itself, but it seems that more people are making these structures part of their overall garden design.


Increase in houseplants and growing vegetables indoors

Sometimes it’s not possible to have a huge exterior outside space in your home, especially if you live in a small home with just a yard or even an apartment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of gardening through houseplants or even growing your own food. Thanks to things like hydroponics kits and tutorials advising on methods to successfully grow many things indoors. It means that now more people are feeling inspired by gardening and wanting to make more of their homes, even if it is a corner of their home.

Having a subtle garden design

While there is a huge trend to have colored structures, the complete opposite is happening to the actual garden itself. People are opting for a more subtle design finish in their exterior gardens. From softer blooms, to color coordinated flowerbeds. Gardens no longer have to be over the top for people to appreciate the hard work it goes into maintaining them.


Making the outside area an experience to enjoy rather than a labor of love

Gardening is a hobby that all can enjoy, but a trend that has developed this year is to make the garden a place where you can enjoy the experience of being outside, rather that it just being a place that has become a labor of love. Consider adding entertaining areas on decking, or even install a hot tub that everyone can enjoy on a warm summers evening.

Adding lighting schemes to your garden

Many people want to ensure that you can experience the garden, even when the sun goes down. So more and more people are choosing lighting schemes in their garden. But rest assured, this isn't going to run up your electricity bill, many lighting schemes use solar power which is a cost-effective way to light up your garden at night. It might even encourage you to use your outside space at night, maybe for entertaining or dining on a decked area.

Add a seating area or furniture 

Your home gardens, pool areas, and patios are as much a part of your home environment as your house interiors. These outdoor areas are even among the first things people see when they pass by or visit your home, so making sure they are tastefully designed and well-maintained create great first impressions before people even get to step inside your home. Know how to choose your outdoor furniture well so that they add to the beauty of your home, complement your interiors, and reflect a good image on you as well. Here are design and decorating tips that you can follow for guaranteed great visual appeal, or use as inspiration to kick off your own outdoor design ideas. 

Woven rattan chair and outdoor sofa sets 
Woven furniture made of natural plant materials such as rattan are great choices for breezy garden furniture that complements the outdoors well. Wicker rattan furniture is weather resistant, durable, and requires low-level maintenance. Being weight-bearing pieces, rattan seats are typically upholstered with sufficient cushions to distribute the sitter’s weight more evenly and prevent the rattan seats from sagging over time. If you have a rattan chair with no upholstery, use a throw pillow in an interesting color as a seat cushion. The unobtrusive tones of natural rattan make the colors of accent pillows pop even better, adding to the visual appeal of your furniture. 

Chunky wood benches 
Place large statement pieces made of timber at the end of your garden pathways. This creates a rustic and elegant look for your landscape, and also grants you a great view of your outdoor environment. Teak is a great material choice for its lovely tone and texture, and its reddish brown hue that eventually weathers into a silver-grey patina adds to the elegance of your outdoor furniture. If you want to retain the reddish brown quality of your teak furniture instead of letting it turn silvery over time, you can buy a brightener from teak suppliers to restore its original look. 

Metal wrought-iron chairs 
Wrought iron chairs are available in intricate designs and antique motifs. They are reminiscent of the classical French style, and are best used as functional yet interesting accent pieces against walls or within small kitchen gardens. Metal chairs used to be made of heavy cast iron that needed frequent repainting to prevent rusting. Nowadays, patterns can be replicated using materials such as aluminum and stainless steel, both of which are rust-resistant so no repainting would be necessary. Use the intricate details and graceful curves of metal chairs to inspire a vintage and romantic feel in your outdoors. 

Sun loungers 
Sun loungers with teak slatted bases are perfect add-ons to your pool area. Cover them with a towel and use them if you need to rest for short periods between swimming, or have them upholstered with cushions for extended lounging. If you need your lounger to be mobile for frequent repositioning, get one with a pair of small wheels for your convenience. Loungers with adjustable back rests offer you more options for relaxing, and are a practical choice if you want multi-position variety. Additionally, if you have a modern lounger, it can also be easily highlighted at night by outfitting modern outdoor lighting. Such style is pretty commonplace in modern homes these days especially those that see guests over at the pool area at night.

I hope this has inspired you to consider more gardening for the next year ahead.

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