The timeless and unique Japanese garden, with its spiritual and philosophical dimensions, has for centuries appealed to those who wish to create a outdoor space with meaning and a sense of purpose. The aesthetic simplicity of the Japanese garden style is also of particular relevance to today's gardener who is looking for a minimalist, pared-down, low-maintenance garden. Charles Chesshire, a leading garden designer and enthusiast of Japanese gardening, shares his passion and knowledge in this beautifully illustrated book. He explores the fascinating history of the Japanese garden as well as today's modern and western interpretations, and looks at the influence of Shinto and the natural landscape, painting and Chinese art, and of Zen Buddhism on the development of this distinctive garden style. The Japanese garden can be broadly divided into five garden styles, including pond and stream gardens, rock and dry gardens, tea gardens, stroll gardens, and courtyard gardens. The book presents a selection of beautiful images of each style, and accompanies each with a relevant case study, composed of an illustrated garden plan, identifying key features, and an at-a-glance plant list. The main building blocks in the design of a Japanese garden - rocks, sand and gravel, ponds, waterfalls and streams, islands and water edges, and classic Japanese plants - are all fully explored. The purpose-made elements typical of a Japanese garden are also described, with useful advice on construction techniques, including boundaries and enclosures, paths, bridges and stepping stones, lanterns and water basins, shelters and arbours, and pagodas, stupas and buddhas. Finally, a gorgeously illustrated plant directory shows how the right choice of plants can enhance the authenticity of a Japanese-style garden, and includes useful advice of the best seasonal plants to choose as well as helpful horticultural information. With over 260 beautiful specially commissioned colour photographs, including stunning Japanese temple gardens and some of the best Western examples, this book is both a sumptuous inspiration and an invaluable expert reference.