Shoji: How to Design, Build, and Install Japanese Screens
Arsdale, Jay Van
Features and Announcements
Resources for Building Your Own Jgarden
Last Updated: 10/1/2001
We often get requests for information on constructing one's own 'Japanese
Garden'. Considering the diversity and complex history of these works, I'm
pretty much against the idea of a single, monolithic entity called the
'Japanese Garden'. I also do not consider myself a designer of such gardens
and am not qualified to dispense advice on their construction. I do realize,
however, that many people are interested in constructing something in this
style. I have therefore put together a bibliography of books to read on
designing one's own garden.
of the writers listed below will make the same point I am making about
Japanese gardens here. The gardens of Japan are not about the objects
or features in them. The stereotypical stone lantern and raked gravel
do not make a garden in this mode. On the other hand, I do think
one can learn much about the principles of good design through the agency
of the gardens of Japan. I would encourage those who are interesting in
constructing a 'Japanese garden' to approach it as an application of the
principles of design inherent in these gardens rather than simply
learning how to set up a stone basin or clip a pine tree.
The historical gardens of Japan were very much reflections of the societies
by which they were created. Use this as an opportunity to think about
how your garden might re-present your culture and how you fit into it.
One could easily apply the principles of Japanese garden design to a place
that is about computers, television and the nuclear family. The best gardens
in any culture have always been landscapes of the mind, going beyond their
nature as objects arranged in an enclosure.
note that the below list is simply a guide and does not imply an endorsement
of the books in it. If you have found other books to be useful, please
let me know. I will consider adding them to the list.
- Bibliographic References
- Merchants and Suppliers
- 'How To' Articles on other web sites
Cave, Philip. Creating
Japanese Gardens. Tokyo: Tuttle, 1993.
Davidson, A.K. The
Art of Zen Gardens: A guide to their creation and enjoyment, Los
Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1983, ISBN: 0-08477-254
Gustafson, Herb. The
Art of Japanese Gardens: Designing and Making Your Own Peaceful Space.
Sterling Publications, 1999.
Japanese Garden Research Association, Create
Your Own Japanese Garden (Japanische Gartengestaltung) (German and
English), Dusseldorf, Germany: Books Nippan, 1996 ISBN: 3-910052-63-0 (Japanese
version in 1995 by Graphic-sha) - lots of photos, measured drawings, and
Jonas, Patricia, e