This is a project in Tendo City in Yamagata Prefecture. A spatial design, taking advantage of the geography, was required for a garden of a new construction at a vacant site. Houses in two housing lots were demolished to form the site, providing gardening materials from two gardens. The existed materials (such as old-fashioned pines, aloeswood topiaries, and locally produced Chokaiseki rocks) were placed along grids, while taking into consideration circulation of people.
The garden is composed of four areas. The first area is the front yard, stretching from the gate to the entrance. Ten-foot tall Kasuga lanterns and pines are rhythmically arranged along the crank-shaped approach on spacious lawn. Trees with a similar blooming season (wild cherry trees, yellow golden bell, and white Thunberg's Meadowsweet) can be seen from the living room.
The second area is the zen garden with a large weeping cherry tree. The stonework, uniformly lining up 3t-class Chokaiseki rocks, appears to be a mountain range when seen from diagonal angles. From the front side, each rock appears to be an exhibited abstract sculpture. Seven maple trees are placed in between the stonework, resembling the arrangement of the Big Dipper in night sky. Furthermore, stage stones are put around the base of the planted Japanese camellia trees in order to admire fallen flowers.
The third area is the miniature hill garden, which is only visible from the master’s library. A 7t rock is placed in front of the garden to provide a sense of distance from the miniature hill, and rocks are improvisatorially and roughly arranged on the hill. Stepping stones line up toward the center, providing variety. The aloeswood topiaries around them are used to resemble cloud shapes above mountains.
The last area is the cloud garden in front of the entrance. This main garden expresses changing clouds, through a reflection of clouds on paddles of rainwater above pounded and polished, black and white granite, as well as shapes of drying paddles. The zazen stones on the four directions stretch into drainage canals, making an imprint of snowmelt dripping from the roof, and this garden is completed.
Our first garden design in the Tohoku region was made while imagining light cover of snow, as if being above clouds.