The use of stepping stones in Japanese gardens became popular during the Momoyama period (1573-1615) with the purpose to guide your path through the garden. Stepping stones should be arranged with ease of walking in mind. Creating a pathway that is irregular, and uneven in parts, forces you to walk slower and to focus on the ground helping you connect to the garden. We would also recommend selecting stones with size variation so that it helps create interest, and can change the rhythm of the walk.
In Japan the numbers 4 and 9 are very unlucky, as they sound like ‘death’ and ‘suffering’, respectively. When creating your path try to avoid using only 4 or 9 stepping stones.
Below are some examples of ways you can arrange a stepping stone pathway, or simply design your own path. For a downloadable copy please click here.
The winter months can be bleak, but that doesn’t mean your garden has to. When the deciduous plants take a back seat, evergreens take centre stage. We have made a shortlist of our favourite evergreen plants; their colours, styles and leaf structure vary dramatically and when planted in combinations can create striking winter gardens.
Rhododendron Bloombux INKARHO
Bloombux is a compact rhododendron that has been developed to tolerate neutral to acidic soil. Plant in bulk to create islands of cloud planting. They provide great colour throughout the winter months, and produce small white-pink flowers in May/June.
Erica carnea ‘Winterfreude’
A low growing heather, ‘Winterfreude’ displays pink bell shaped flowers throughout winter, which darken to a deep red by spring. This small plant is great for injecting bursts of bright colour during the cold winter months. Perfect in a small bed or used in bulk to create a ‘sweeping carpet’ effect.
An evergreen shrub that produces bold red berries during the winter. These berries are attractive to look out, but not to eat as they are poisonous! Depending on the variety, they can grow tall and slender or be pruned to create a compact bush. They can be planted alone as a statement or in a bed with other plants.
Ilex Crenata (and similar varieties such as Ilex convexa) are versatile and can be planted as hedging or styled into shapes. We prefer the latter, and by using a combination of sized balls, you can achieve a minimalistic yet striking garden feature. They are a great alternative to box, as they do not suffer from box blight.
New to our collection, we love this unique plant. Otherwise known as ‘paper bush’ this bushy shrub has light yellow flowers that appear in late winter to early spring. Not only are they attractive to look at, they smell great too!
Mahonia Soft caress
Unlike traditional Mahonia’s with sharp leaves, this variety has leaves that are spine-free, meaning they are soft to touch. This means that you can plant them in a border or near a path without any fear of receiving scratches from the shrub. With yellow scented flowers in the summer, in the winter they can produce blue/black berries making this shrub even more interesting.
Pittisporum ‘Tom Thumb’
Pittisporum ‘Tom Thumb’ is an attractive focal point within the winter garden due to its deep brown-purple leaves. They look great styled as balls, and using a combination of sizes can create dramatic interest.
If the area of garden is exposed to high winds, or heavy rain then the gravel may lose its design quicker. Simply reapply the pattern or create a new one! For a downloadable copy please click here.
If in doubt please contact us by phone on 01622 872403 or by email email@example.com