This Canadian Japanese-style garden turns spectacular in the fall.
It's important to make a good first impression -- and that goes for your landscape, too. Here, evergreens play against a trio of colorful maples -- purple-red 'Garnet' Japanese maple in the front, orange-red 'Osakazuki' Japanese maples to the right, and golden big-leaf maple in background.
Texture is important, too -- mix different leaf sizes and shapes to create impact. Here, for example, note the way the grasses, Japanese maple, and evergreens look together.
The design of this Canadian garden was based on Japanese strolling gardens. Its heart is a pair of ponds just outside the home's back door. A shallow lily pond blends into a deeper koi pond -- and both are accented by a fiery-orange Japanese maple. Add more impact to maples and other trees with great fall foliage by planting them next to a water feature so you can see their leaves reflected below.
Gardens aren't only about plants. While the orange Japanese maple is definitely the showstopper here, the well-weathered wooden bridge, fence, and gate are perfect accents -- and act as focal points during the rest of the growing season.
It's easy to think of a garden as having distinct areas -- but blending the edges helps the garden feel more put together. Here, the arching form of blue oatgrass (Helictotrichon) mimics the bridge and blends it with the banks. The blue oatgrass is also a great foil against bright Japanese maple and the big leaves of gunnera across the path.
Add excitement to your landscape by blocking views so you can't see everything at once. Here, a fence and gate help hide what comes next, so as you approach, you get only a hint of the golden maple and other foliage that lies on the other side.
Ceramic artists Robin Hopper and Judi Dyelle share this 6-acre property on Vancouver Island. Robin's love of Asian art helped inspire much of the 2-1/2-acre garden's design, which has evolved over the past 20+ years.