"I read JOJG in both my most relaxed moments, and to help achieve relaxation when it is otherwise elusive."

Christopher J. Bayne, Corvallis, Oregon

  Japanese Garden Journal

Water Garden Design

The difference between a boring pond and a really special pond often involves layout and design.  Beautiful water gardens are, after all, more than just holes in the water.  They are sculptural creations that combine the best of naturalistic landscape design with technical realities such as swimming pool engineering.

Garden design is a field that the Japanese perfected long ago, and water features are included in nearly every garden in Japan.  Japanese water gardens are, in fact, famous throughout the world for their natural beauty and exceptional craftsmanship.  In Japan, however, a term like "waterfall design" is not an endeavor that is executed on paper in a studio.  Outdoor water features are "designed" out in the field, boulder by boulder.  The "designer" of a water feature is the actual hands-on gardener, and he executes his garden pond designs, not with a pencil, but with full size rocks and plants.

JOJG publishes regular articles that are related to water gardening and water feature designs.  Some articles discuss the layout and planning of backyard water features.  Other articles explain specific details about subjects such as edge rocks, koi pond filters, or waterfall designs.  The goal is to help readers learn how to create water features in the Japanese style that are both naturally convincing and stunningly beautiful. 

A few sample water garden design articles are posted below for your review:


FUNDAMENTALS OF SUCCESSFUL POND EDGING   Use extra large edge boulders... Avoid the necklace effect... Employ a variety of edging techniques instead of just one... These are the kind of water garden design lessons taught in this article.

WATERCOURSE GATE STONES   This JOJG article explains how natural stream courses tend to flow through "gates."  The article discusses how to employ watercourse gate stones in your home garden.

LIVING WATER, FLOWING STREAMS   This article describes several important concepts about water garden design and pond construction.  Beautiful koi ponds aren't shaped like round bowls.  Instead they have organic shapes that evoke patterns seen in the natural landscape.  Likewise, beautiful garden streams aren't straight, nor are they overly complicated.  The nicest water garden streams flow smoothly, without leaving spots of dead water.  Read this article to learn more.

LINK YOUR POND TO THE SURROUNDING LANDSCAPE   Too many backyard water gardens look like they were just plunked down there, without any connection to the rest of the yard or garden.  This article discusses helpful techniques for establishing a visual connection between your pond and the rest of your garden.

STEPPING STONES OVER WATER   Known as sawa-tari in Japanese, stepping stones that cross streams or ponds are particularly charming.  This article explains details about their design and installation.

HOW RIVERS TURN   If you want your streams and ponds to be naturally convincing, it helps to study the wild landscape.  This article examines the patterns often seen where a river changes course.