Japanese pathways

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

Evergreen plants.. our favourites

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.  

Nandina Domestica

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

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. 

Edgeworthia chrysantha 

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.  

How do I rake patterns in a ‘Zen’ garden

Step 1

If you are using a tie on rake then attach it to the inside of a normal garden rake using the string provided. For smaller areas, a hand held rake may be more suitable. 

Step 2

Use a broom to make sure that the gravel is level creating a blank canvas for you to work with. To be successful, the 6mm gravel should be laid around 50-75mm deep.

Step 3

Always start in the middle of the area and work outwards so that you do not leave any footprints in the gravel. Apply pressure to the rake to ensure that the spikes are to a sufficient depth in the gravel and begin creating your patten. 

Step 4

Traditionally, a large proportion of the area should be clear, with concentric waves lapping around rocks or other features that sit within the sea of gravel. 

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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 info@rhinorock.co.uk

Products to create a zen garden

6mm silver grey gravelsilver grey gravel

Feature Stones

Raketie-on rake

How do I create a stepping stone pathway across gravel

Step 1

Start by choosing the right location. Prepare the ground by raking it and level it wherever possible.

Step 2

Lay weed membrane over the area. Fold the edges under, and pin it down.

Step 3

Lay the stepping stones out to ensure that they are in the correct position.

Step 4

The stepping stones should be set with their centers around 55cm apart. Adjust this distance to suit your project and walking pace. A Japanese path never follows a straight line, so introduce some curves.

Step 5

Mark around the stepping stone and cut out the weed membrane. Dig out some soil to create a pocket for the bed of mortar, allowing sufficient space around to move the stone if required.

Step 6

Prepare a mix of four parts ‘soft sand’ and one part cement with some water. The bed of mortar should be around 5cm thick to ensure a solid base. Lay the stepping stone on to the mortar and hammer down with a rubber mallet.

Step 7

Use a spirit level to ensure that the stepping stone is at the correct height and that it is laying level. Allow the bed of mortar to cure for one or two days bfore using the path.

Step 8

Lay the remaining stepping stones to complete the path. Cover the weed membrane with our matching silver grey gravel. Add some evergreen planting to soften the hard landscaping.

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The correct consistency of mortar is important. If it is too dry the stepping stone will not bed well. If it is too wet the stepping stone will sink. 

If in doubt please contact us by phone on 01622 872403 or by email info@rhinorock.co.uk

For a downloadable copy please click here –  how to.. create a stepping stone path across gravel pdf

Product

Materials you need for a stepping stone path

Round Stepping Stones

Round granite stepping stone

Irregular Stepping Stones

Square Stepping Stones

Square granite stepping stones

Silver Grey ZEN Gravel

silver grey gravel

How do I create a stepping stone pathway across grass

Step 1

Start by choosing the right location. Japanese paths usually start and end with larger stepping stones. Use smaller ones in between.

Step 2

Lay the stepping stones out to ensure they are in the correct position. The stepping stones should be set with their centers around 55cm apart.

Step 3

Adjust the distance to suit your project and walking pace. A Japanese path never follows a straight line, so introduce some curves.

Step 4

Dig out some soil to create a pocket for the bed of mortar. The top of the stepping stone should finish below the level of the lawn when completed.

Step 5

Prepare a mix of 4 parts ‘soft sand’ and 1 part cement with some water. The bed of mortar should be around 5cm thick to ensure a solid base.

Step 6

Lay the stepping stone onto the mortar and hammer down with a rubber mallet. The top surface should be just below the level of the lawn so that you can mow over it.

Step 7

Use a spirit level to ensure that the stepping stone is at the correct height and that it is laying level. Allow the bed of mortar to cure for one or two days bfore using the path.

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  1. The correct consistency of mortar is important. If it is too dry the stepping stone will not bed well. If it is too wet the stepping stone will sink. 

Please feel free to leave a comment below with any questions you have. Equally, you are welcome to contact us by phone on 01622 872403 or by email info@rhinorock.co.uk

For a downloadable copy please click here –  how do I create a stepping stone path across grass pdf

Product

Materials you need for a stepping stone path

Round Stepping Stones

Round granite stepping stone

Irregular Stepping Stones

Square Stepping Stones

Square granite stepping stones

How do I look after a Japanese Maple

Japanese Maples are versatile. They can be planted in the ground or in containers. 

The best time to plant is in Autumn. Ensure the tree is planted a minimum of four weeks before the ground is set to freeze during the winter. 

Although Acers are known to grow anywhere, they prefer dappled shade. Areas that are exposed to morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal. 

Mulch your Acer with shredded bark roughly 6cm deep. This will help prevent water evaporating from the soil around the roots. During the winter mulch also helps protect the roots from the cold. Leave a slight gap between the mulch and trunk to help air circulation. 

The soil needs to be consistently moist, so look to water the Acer deeply once or twice a week and make sure the soil is free draining. In drought conditions the Acer (especially newly planted Acers) may require more frequent watering. 

Look to prune your Acer late summer/early autumn. Sap does not run from cuts during this period, which helps protect the Acer from diseases.  

For any more tips on how to look after your Japanese Maple, or if you have any questions, please contact us through email: info@rhinorock.co.uk or by phone: 01622 872403. Equally, feel free to leave a question in a comment below

For a downloadable copy please click here –  how to.. look after a Japanese Maple pdf

Japanese Maple

How do I set up an upright bamboo spout

Step 1

Unwrap the spout carefully, beware the end of the metal spike is sharp.

Step 2

Loosen the two screws using a screwdriver, twist the metal spike so that it is facing downwards and place the screws back in the top and bottom holes.

Step 3

The spike is pushed into the ground to provide the spout with stability.

Step 4

Two different diameters of hose pipe are supplied. Please use the pipe that fits best with your pump nozzle.

For a downloadable copy please click here –  how to.. set up an upright bamboo spout pdf

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If you have any questions regarding setting up your bamboo spout feel free to call us on 01622 872403 or us at email info@rhinorock.co.uk

Product

Materials you need for a upright bamboo spout

Natural Bamboo Spout

50 cm water spout

Caramel Bamboo Spout

Caramel Water Spout

How do I set up a water feature

Step 1

Start by choosing the right location. Ideally, the feature should be seen from a deck, patio, or window. You will need a minimum of one square meter for the feature.

Step 2

Dig a suitably sized hole for the water tank. Ensure that is it level. Profile the soil around the tank forming a shallow basin with the tank at the lowest point.

Step 3

Lay the piece of liner over the tank leaving a ‘skirt’ all the way around. Cut a letter box slot in the liner directly over the centre of the tank. Put the pump in the tank and connect it to the bamboo water spout hose.

Step 4

Set up the granite basin beside the tank. If you choose to have kneelings stones arrange them so that the tops are level. For best results we recommend bedding them in mortar.

Step 5

Fill the granite basin and reservior with water. Turn the water pump on and regulate the flow of water to the way you like it.

Step 6

Observe the flow of water. All the water should be returning to the tank and it should not be escaping in the liner. If water is escaping then adjust the liner.

Step 7

Place the lid over the reservoir. Plant around the liner to soften the arrangement; evergreen plants provide all year round interest and winter colour.

Step 8

Cover the liner with water worn cobbles or silver grey gravel. Add a bamboo ladle and rest to complete the Japanese water basin arrangement.

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  • If you have to top the tank up frequently then check that the water is not escaping the liner. 
  • If the water does not flow check that there is sufficient water in the reservoir. 
  • If the pump does not work, switch off the power and check the impeller is free of debris. 
  • If still in doubt, please contact us by phone 01622 872403 or by email info@rhinorock.co.uk

For a downloadable copy please click here –  how to.. set up a water feature pdf

Product

Materials you need for a Japanese water feature

Tank & Pump

Water Feature Kit

Cobbles

Water basin

Close-up of Japanese water basin arrangement

Kneeling Stones (optional)

kneeling stones arrangement

Bamboo Spout

50 cm water spout

Ladle & Rest (optional)

Japanese water ladle & rest