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Showcase garden: Chris Gare

Garden Showcase - My Japanese Garden by Chris Gare

The following page shows the fantastic result of Chris Gare's hard work. His website (www.myjapanesegarden.com/) details the journey of creating a magnificent Japanese Garden. Chris has incorporated many different elements (some more subtle than others!) within his garden, from water features to bamboo fences. We are also pleased to bring you Chris's videos taken of the garden which will hopefully allow for a better feel for the garden.

Starting point

Below can be seen the starting point for the Japanese garden - a long border with a significant incline and ideal to form the basis of a stream. The pergola has been in the garden since Chris built it in the late 1980s and though you can't see it in this photograph due to the covering of wild rose, it was designed with a Japanese theme which you can see in other photos on the site.

From this....

image courtesy of Chris Gare

To this....

image courtesy of Chris Gare

Design aspects

'I very much wanted it to fit in with the existing style of my house and incorporate features and themes (in a small way of course!) from some of my other world trips in particular, Ascension Island's Green mountain and the Falkland Islands' granite rock runs. '

There were a number of ideas Chris wanted to incorporate into his Japanese garden. Not only pure Japanese design styles but also some ideas from some his other recent travels.

  • A tea house at the top of the garden

  • A shallow pond at the top that will be, in effect, an iris bed.

  • A granite mountain below the tea house, leading to...

  • A stream on two levels, connecting to...

  • A pond at the bottom via a waterfall

Stone Planning

Chris summarises his plan as wanting to achieve the following.

  • Not a stark Zen garden based on white stones!

  • Incorporate some significant trimmed trees

  • A mixture stones, particularly black stones and slate. The imported black stones are called Kuroi Ko-Ishi

Below is a plan Chris used to plan the layout.

'As it turned out, I was not that far wrong although I didn't really follow my layout plan very closely for some very practical reasons!'

image courtesy of Chris Gare

Granite Wall

'The granite wall (pictured left )was my small time attempt to emulate the magnificent granite walls seen at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo! '
image courtesy of Chris Gare


Upper waterfall
Mountain stream

Japanese Tea House

'I had plans to build a Japanese teahouse ( chashitsu ) as the centre point of my Japanese garden though, because of winter, construction had been delayed until the spring of 2003'.

image courtesy of Chris Gare

It is probably fair to say that this design is in the mould of a Japanese teahouse but for several reasons it needed to be practical for other uses in a western garden. This meant deviating from the norm of using only 'pure natural materials' and certain traditional architecture features. Another key reason for these changes is that I had to build to a budget'.

Chris also has a passion in Bonsai, and below is one example, located within the Tea house.

image courtesy of Chris Gare


Lower waterfall

Finished Garden

' The garden is near completion as well although I still have to do some planting in various places. It's been a great project and I've really enjoyed doing this myself.'

image courtesy of Chris Gare

'It certainly wasn't cheap, but I dread to think of the cost if I had drafted in a company to build it for me!'

image courtesy of Chris Gare

We hope that you have enjoyed viewing this showcase garden. We believe that it is a truly magnificent example of a Japanese Garden and extremely impressed by Chris's commitment to creating something of true beauty. We would recommend you to visit Chris's website (www.myjapanesegarden.com/) which contains detail in the step-by-step creation of this wonderful garden.

This page will hopefully inspire you to add a few Japanese touches to your garden, or perhaps take the plunge for a full makeover!

We aim to make this part of our website a resource to show the best of design and ideas - if you want your garden to be considered, please just let us know.
Details on the Showcase Index Page.