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Create Your Own Japanese Garden: A Practical Guide

Motomi Oguchi with Joseph Cali
Kodansha USA
Publication Date: 

Cloth, 127 pp., $29.95.

For anyone who has admired the beauty and serenity of a meticulously designed Japanese garden, this book will offer detailed help in achieving your own version. Oguchi gives us a brief history of the Japanese garden, its relationship to the house, the various elements of the garden, and how it has changed over time. The chapters are divided into types of gardens: approaches, entrances, and front; courtyard and dry landscapes; tea and tree gardens; and interior and veranda gardens in commercial spaces. The final chapter deals with special touches, restoration, and maintenance. Within each of these categories, he presents a number of his designs along with step-by-step instructions for their construction. Every detail is carefully explained, down to the importance of the correct size, shape, and placement of individual stones in a walkway. Oguchi's attention to the past is shown in commissioning of a replica of a lantern, originally brought to Japan from Korea in the eighth century. As he so charmingly notes, "I often think the stone lantern in the garden is like a necktie on a man: although it is a relatively small part of his overall attire, it stands out above all else." The average reader probably will not plan an elaborate Japanese garden, but certainly can find useful information on how to transform an entrance. To quote a remark printed on the dust jacket of this book: "Add a touch of serenity to your home and life."
— Joan Richards, volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden