Michael Roybal’s comments:

Covers the basic divisions of types of gardens front, kitchen, inner and other auxiliary sections in the very beginning of the book. Excellent sections on stone arrangement beginning on page 66 including how stone shapes effect symbolism (including mood).  Several nice examples aligning with representation.  Setting gravel pattern for spreading stones on page 155.  Pointers on planning and construction starting on page 235.

Others comments:
just quite simply the best book (english language) on the subject.  Jumps right into the middle of things with a pretty good explanation of “shibusa”, really good pictures particularly with shin/gyo/so paths, nice planning and construction drawings.

Reviewers context:
Why this book?  If you are new to Japanese Gardening and you are starting a collection of books on the subject that is beginning to need it’s own bookshelf this book might be for you.In my own process I was seeking more information on Japanese Gardening and had pretty much acquired the books that were available in local stores to admire the pictures.  It was just a peaceful thing to imagine what those wonderful gardens looked like.  However, I was ready to move to the next levels so I began to look toward books that gave some more guidance on how to do it myself.  That, in conjunction with the resources available on the JGO I began my endeavors in Japanese gardening. I began with a few initial stone arrangements and felt the need to increase their quality.

Related Books:
From a strictly theory perspective I had read started with reading two classics (Or shall I say impressions of them in books I found available in English Sakuteiki and IllustrationsFor  the classic Sakuteiki I read Sakuteiki Visions of the Japanese Garden.  It is more on the abstract theory and sayings of creating a garden. Sakuteiki, by the way is great when paired with Infinite Spaces: The Art and Wisdom of the Japanese Garden. I am still interested in that is for another day, when I have learned more about the depth of my ignorance and I need more doses of theory.For the Classic Illustrations for Designing Mountain, Water, and Hillside Field Landscapes by Zoen  I became acquainted with through Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens by David Slawson.  Much there in terms of stone meaning, arrangements, taboos.  A wonderful study in learning about Japanese gardens and appreciating them in general.Shifting away from theory, there were the opposite kind of book, how to build specific items.  All helpful, however finally coming upon Japanese Gardening Hints: Saito, K. (1969).

It seemed to cover residential sized houses like my own. and covered the feel of stone arranging in a simple way. SO with that, I gave it a go.  No, later I needed more in-depth understanding of stone shapes, moods and setting…  And for that this book is excellent.  Beyond that, the sense of my yard becoming a unified whole is happening after 10 years of working drainage and other issues.  Each part of my yard contributing to a whole.  In that aspect, the coverage of divisions of gardens in the Japanese Garden context of a residential home is something I like to contemplate.  How it would be good for western civilization, my region, neighborhood, yard and myself.

Further discussion in the JGO Forum:



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Magic of trees and Stones - Secrets of Japanese Gardening

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