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How to make a garden in your hut in Shinrin-yoku style and feel like a Miyazaki cartoon hero

“Dandelion wine. These words are like summer on the tongue. Dandelion wine is caught and bottled in the summer,” Ray Bradbury wrote. And indeed, yellow inflorescences are pleasing to the eye and give a feeling of summer. Since the summer season is officially open, and with it the pleasure of selflessly digging the ground and tending to flowers, we suggest you plant a garden in the Japanese Shinrin-yoku style and feel like the cartoon hero of Hayao Miyazaki or Makoto Shinkai.


What is Shinrin-yoku?

It is no coincidence that at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, one of the biggest gardening competitions, the winner of the most prestigious category, Best Show Garden, is Ula Maria, who offers a garden that resembles a wild forest. The name of his garden, Forest Bathing Garden, comes from shinrin-yoku, the Japanese art of walking carefully through the forest, and literally means “forest bathing.” The task of landscape designers and gardeners is to create a garden that will allow a person to “bathe in the forest atmosphere.”

Japanese people generally value connection with nature. It is enough to recall Hayao Miyazaki’s feature-length anime, in which the forest is truly alive. Considering how often we experience burnout, relaxation and leisure in the garden, it is an ideal way to relieve a lack of energy, calm the nerves, lower heart rate and blood pressure. Japanese scientists found that a three-day forest trip increased the number of natural killer cells, cells that protect the body from infections, by 50%.


How to make a garden in Shinrin-yoku style

A frame from the cartoon
A frame from the cartoon “Garden of Beautiful Words”
A frame from the cartoon
A frame from the cartoon “Garden of Beautiful Words”
A frame from the cartoon
A frame from the cartoon “Garden of Beautiful Words”

We offer a few life hacks that will bring some magic to your garden so you can feel like little Arrietty or Mary the Witch.

plant wild strawberries

Strawberries bear fruit from mid-June to July, but this does not mean that they are useless the rest of the time. Beautiful leaves will be a real decoration of the garden.

Build a mini rock garden

I’m sure none of your neighbors have anything like this? Meanwhile, stones (like crystals) carry an energy charge. If you’ve played The Sims 2, you probably remember Sims using rakes to make intricate patterns out of small stones before meditating. We also recommend making a mosaic from small stones (crushed stones) and placing large stones in the middle.

Install a Japanese bamboo fountain

Sozu is a swinging device made of bamboo in Japanese gardens: water flows from above into the crossbar, and when it overflows, the tube overturns. In Taoism, water is a metaphor for how to live: moving towards a goal but being soft and flexible to adapt to an ever-changing world. The sound of water will create the effect of the murmur of a river and fill the space with the sounds of the forest.

white ramie plant

The feeling of the forest will be created by white ramie or Chinese nettle, which grows from Japan to Indochina and the countries of the Malay Archipelago.

Create layers

In the forest the ground is not as flat as in the garden, so instead of sacrificing amenities you need to create the illusion of a wild forest by using layers.

Create a forest shade from trees

A place where you can hide from the heat. Create life-saving coolness with the help of trees.

Buy eco-friendly furniture

Pay attention to country furniture made of bamboo and other environmentally friendly materials. Textiles could be made not only from ordinary flax and cotton, but also from nettle or industrial hemp (for example, ropes for ships were made in the Russian Empire).

Eliminate sources of noise and pollution

Install a fence at your summer residence made of materials that act as sound insulators. Water your garden regularly to get rid of dust.

Build a green fence

Even if your fence is made of brick or stone, you can “green” it by installing “hanging gardens”.

Create magic lanterns

To really feel like Arrietty, make fluorescent lanterns instead of electric lighting. At night it will look as if fairies have settled in the garden.

Build a tree house

Do you remember what a beehive looks like? We recommend building a similar structure from branches on a tree. This will not only add comfort, but also allow you to integrate with the environment.

Play up the rough edges

There is nothing perfect in nature. If the roots of a tree are peeking out from under the ground, there is no need to cover it with soil in case of panic. Think about how you can use this space better. Remember the cartoon “Pocahontas”, where the main character talks to the spirit of a willow tree: you can draw a mysterious face on the trunk, plant beautiful flowers, install a bench with imitation moss or a swing. You can make beautiful armchairs or a table from a tree trunk (hemp). Make roads more winding.

Build a nest for songbirds

What is a forest without the sound of birds? Be sure to set up feeders or a garden house for insects such as ladybugs.


What does a Shinrin-yoku style garden look like?

Here are some references to creating a Japanese garden in the spirit of Makoto Shinkai and Hayao Miyazaki’s cartoons.

Shinrin-yoku style garden. Photo: social networks
Shinrin-yoku style garden. Photo: social networks

Source: People Talk

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