The Art of Japanese Gardens

Posted by 03.09. 2007 10:31:00 (6703 readers)

The Art of Japanese Gardens: Designing & Making Your Own Peaceful Space

Nourish the soul and restore the spirit: this photo-packed guidebook shows how to create the sense of harmony and balance of Zen philosophy. Every element that goes into the garden holds meaning, along with its careful arrangement, and its use of natural and unobtrusive materials. Walls, fences, and paths provide security, beauty, and boundaries that separate and x various areas. Boulders, stones, and gravel contrast with smooth, flowing ponds and rushing waterfalls. No detail goes unexplainedfrom adding koi and water plants to putting up a teahouse.

Often gardeners become so enslaved to the work of maintenance and transformation that they neglect the meditative potential of their green space. Worrying over the details, the whole picture is sometimes lost. This is an attitude Herb Gustafson hopes to check in The Art of Japanese Gardens, a beautifully photographed book that creates in the reader a longing for total silence. Photographs of tranquil bridges, bright spidery Japanese maple leaves, and shimmering ponds are accompanied by unpretentious philosophical asides like "Our gardens can become a profound representation of the universe as a whole," and "We must pause to reflect on our journey thus far." Gustafson is not a stickler for historical detail: his notion of a "Japanese" garden is a hybrid of styles, some ancient, some modern. Chapters include "Boundaries," in which a variety of fences, walls, and gates are presented along with accessible descriptions of construction techniques. The third chapter explores that great dreamlike element of the traditional Japanese garden: the constant sound of running water, artificial streams where "we sit and are relaxed by the never-ending flow."

To truly carry out many of Gustafson's projects, the reader needs to be extremely handy, or planning on hiring a professional. It's also an ideal coffee-table book for the urban apartment dweller who needs to be reminded of peaceful spaces every once in a while, even when the "journey thus far" seems like a series of missed connections and splitting headaches. --Emily White

Author: Herb Gustafson,
Publisher: Sterling , 2007-03-01
ISBN: 1402745001, EAN: 9781402745003

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Articles: art japanese

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