This beautifully illustrated book provides an inspirational and practical introduction to the traditions of Japanese Zen gardens, using natural materials such as wood, bamboo, rocks and pebbles. Emphasizing the value of shape in trees and shrubs with the subtlety of colour through the varied greens of foliage and moss, "Serene Gardens" is the only book that explains how western plants and materials can be used to achieve the natural, minimalist look so beloved by Japanese garden designers. There are instructions and tips for selecting plants and materials which are readily available, as well as plant lists and climate zone maps to aid western gardeners. As the wealth of stunning colour photographs from around the world demonstrates, Japanese garden design is concerned with a reverence for nature and the overall effect is of tranquility. "Serene Gardens" will help people to create much-needed oases of calm in their own outdoor spaces.