Modern Japanese garden

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This west-facing courtyard is sheltered by outbuildings, forming part of a large country residence. The client returned from Japan, wishing to create a Japanese garden, but in a modern approach.

Since the terrain was flat, they lowered the ground to create a sunken rock garden. They craned in six large granite rocks and positioned them along a diagonal axis. These rocks depict the family hierarchy, decreasing in height, while the last rock was turned into a water feature, set into an upper deck.

The surfaces include various granite stones, producing random shapes and sizes, while recycled Yorkstone walls form paths towards the seating areas. Basalt blocks create steps into the sunken area, which is dressed in small, raked granite chippings.

Camellia, ferns, ginkgo, grasses, magnolia, Japanese maple and bamboo infuse Eastern essence. A multistem flowering Cherry forms a focal point in the seating area, with the backdrop of a stone-clad wall. Native box hedges partition the garden, while a clipped Japanese holly cloud tree (Ilex crenata) accentuates the oriental essence.

Floating hardwood decks, underlit at night with LED strip lighting provides seating, in a visual, contemporary contrast to the stone.

Project details

Design: Mylandscapes
Project Location: Saffron Walden, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Typology: Private garden
Built: 2014
Photo credits: © Marianne Majerus, Amir Schlezinger



Amir Schlezinger studied garden design at Middlesex University and Capel Manor College in North London, and formed Mylandscapes in 2001. He has designed over 250 projects, mainly for private clients, developing a speciality in roof terrace design. Born in Israel, his knowledge of varied floras underpins a planting style which weaves architectural plants with contemporary European aesthetics. In the past ten years, projects have increasingly been driven by ecological sustainability, articulated in using native and wildlife-friendly plants, recycled materials and organic maintenance. The diverse portfolio blends a love for natural materials, innovative detail design and a lush planting style.