Gardening Tips

Ensuring drainage in your Japanese garden

November 13, 2011

A Japanese garden

Growing a Japanese garden has been growing as a hobby among many today. This is because it fits neatly into small homes also. Creating your own Japanese garden could be as challenging and fulfilling as making a masterpiece of art. It also helps one to develop positive traits and qualities like patience, perseverance and discipline. It also cultivates an appreciation of living in harmony with nature.

Though the garden consists of dwarf plants, shrubs and herbs, it does not stop at only that. A lot of care and attention is demanded by the garden. The soil and drainage of the soil are the most important parameters you have to take care. Here is a list of things to do to ensure the best soil and drainage for your Japanese garden. The logic is to ensure that there is sufficient water from the top of the garden and ample drainage at the bottom.

1. Setting the drainage pattern

Whether you create the garden in your backyard or in a trough, it is very important to have a proper drainage pattern. Even if your garden is going to be indoor, the whole area should slope towards the water outlet or the drainage hole. The drainage hole is a very important aspect of the pattern and design.

2. Ensuring that the drainage hole only drains water

The drainage hole should be blocked using pieces of china, pottery or other rocks. These pieces should be larger than the hole and should not go through it. At the same time, they should prevent the soil and other materials from flowing out of the trough. If you have concave pieces, make sure that the concavity faces the hole and the convex bulge is away from it. These will also ensure that the drainage hole never gets clogged with small objects and stuff.

3. Making the bottom layer

This should be constituted by small pebbles, clinker, crockery pieces and gravel. The idea is to use materials that occupy space and volume but do not hold water. These are the materials that surround the lowermost layer which surrounds the drainage hole.

4. Laying the soil layer

Okay! We have got the drainage layer with the drainage hole in place. But it is also vital that we get the soil layers also properly. Sphagnum moss, leaf-mold and horticultural peat are the best ingredients to make the soil. You could also make the same from old turf, coconut fibers and dead leaves. It is important that you ensure no twigs, insects, larvae, worms and roots get into the garden. Pack this layer very well. It is the most necessary one for the proper growth of your plants. This is the layer that will retain the moisture that the plants need. So pack it really well.

The soil used will also depend on the plants that are going to be grown. Lime loving plants which require a soil that is basic are best grown in chalky soils. Corn, conifers, bulb plants and many flowering shrubs require an acidic soil and sandy soils may be an option to consider. If you need more water retention, increase the percentage of the horticultural peat in the mix.

5. Spreading the compost

Compost is necessary for the Japanese garden for two reasons. The first is naturally for the nutrients that it provides. The second reason is because compost also retains moisture. While water-logging can destroy your Japanese garden, the lack of water will kill the plants. So, while we ensure a proper drainage, we should also ensure sufficient watering.

Use the general base formula of mixing one part of coarse sand, one part of granulated soil and three parts of sterilized soil while preparing the compost.

6. Making the holding areas

If you are making a miniature garden, then it would be best to use porous earthenware as the container. In the open, it would be a good idea to have sufficient aeration and ventilation for the soil. All these help in drying the water and ensuring that there is no water clogging. If you have used earthenware, these pots could then be fitted into the regular decorative pots.

7. Making the top surface

You could add some mulch on the top to take in water and also to keep the soil relatively cool. The topmost layer could be made of granite or limestone chippings. These heavy chips will keep the soil in place and prevent wind erosion from taking it away.

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