Japanese Hill and Pond Garden

The hill and pond garden is probably the most represented style of Japanese garden in the west and  is the one that most quickly comes to mind with its typical arched bridge (often red) whose reflection in the still water completes a perfect circle. There are several famous gardens of this style throughout the United States.  These gardens were inspired by the natural landscape in Japan; islands, mountains, water, and  plantings of evergreen and deciduos trees.  The region most like Japan in terms of climate is the Pacific Northwest.  Here the abundance of mist and rain naturally provide the necessary moisture for mosses and ferns and other water loving plants.  Also the mountains and the islands and the mild climate of the area are much like that of Japan, not to mention the presence of several majestic mountains like that of Mt. Fuji in Japan.  But the look and the principles we draw from Japanese garden design can accommodate the climate and plants of many regions.

Usually you will find this garden style where there is an expanse of land.  But if you remember it is reflective of the larger landscape picture, it is easily adaptable in miniature to your small garden space.  In the larger garden,  there will be an  island  in a body of water accessible by a bridge.  In the miniature landscape, there may be a well selected stone in a pond that represents an  island and a bridge that takes the mind to it.  In the expansive garden, there will be actual hills with paths to stroll through.  In the miniature, there may be outcroppings of clustered rocks representing mountains or plants clipped so as to represent rolling hills.  Imagine enjoying a lush mountain scene complete with lake and waterfall right in your own backyard!  Again the garden is largely for viewing and should be attractive from those windows exposed to it or viewable from a pergola or platform overextending the pond.


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