Eastern influences can be an inspiration in redesigning your garden

Jacqui Brocklehurst

Jacqui Brocklehurst - Credit: Archant

Landscape gardener Jacqui Brocklehurst looks to the East for inspiration for the redesign of her patch of England

For the last 12 months I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions regarding a proposed extension to our home. What we expected to take a couple of months has dragged on mercilessly: plans have been knocked back, re-drawn and knocked back again.

However, this delay has given me ample opportunity to consider my garden and the redesign I have in my mind, for council planners have no control over my garden, I can be as creative as I like.

Because the garden directly outside my uber-modern, proposed folding glass doors is perpetually in the shade, I am looking to the Japanese style of garden for inspiration. It’s the cherry blossoms that do it. Over the last few weeks pretty pink blossom has been blooming everywhere. Whether it’s the big, fluffy, candyfloss varieties that have stopped us in our tracks or the delicate single petals, that whisper their beauty before retiring into the background, I am captivated and I want one.

Japanese garden design is as much about the elements of hard landscaping as it is about the plants. Meandering paths, perfectly positioned rocks, lanterns and waterfalls are all symbolic and combine to create a peaceful oasis.

Evergreen plants are used to create a peaceful oasis that looks good all year round, an important aspect in our own domestic gardens. Moss is often encouraged in these shady places but I am going to use a different plant. Mentha requienii is a creeping mint with the tiniest of leaves. It thrives in damp shady places and, when trodden underfoot, releases a delicious minty aroma.

This background of evergreen plants allows carefully placed Japanese maples to shine resplendently in fresh greens, peaches and copper reds. Acers are more than happy to grow in pots so if you are not sure of their final position try moving them around until the feng shui feels just right.

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