In your average suburban garden, designing with Oriental influences, like bamboo waterspouts, raked pebbles, mini serenity gardens, teahouses and miniature pagodas will probably attract some attention. These Asian-influenced gardens look exotic and often present familiar garden features to us in new ways. The trunk of your hardy jade plant may start to look a bit like a bonsai tree when you pair it with set of bamboo wind chimes.
The emphasis in these gardens is often on creating harmony, balance and tranquility in the landscape, and we could all use more of that. The burgeoning popularity of feng shui, both in the garden and out, has contributed to redefining that familiar peony patch and seeing the garden as more than a collection of plants. The forces of nature figure prominently in the philosophy of feng shui, and the promise of creating positive energy through garden design, and that positive energy resulting in health, wealth and good fortune may be something to think about. However you see the greater spiritual world playing out in your garden, Oriental garden influences help make distinctive landscapes that have flair and curb appeal.
In the next section, we'll explore holiday decorating, garden style.