I got a book on Japanese Gardens from the library recently: The Modern Japanese Garden. I had gotten it before and I really think it's beautiful. The layout is great and the gardens they chose to showcase are amazing. It has a wide range of gardens, from extremely avant garde to more traditional ones. I thought I'd show a few pictures.
I love the Japanese aesthetic. I really like how simple a lot of their designs appear, but how much depth and interest they have when you study them.
My husband and I tried incorporate a Japanese feel into our patio. The wooden tiles are from IKEA -- our actual patio is covered with a mix of concrete and astroturf. Rather than leave a gap on the side, we decided on this. Notice how the"river" made of rock meanders? That was a later addition to the plan; originally it just stuck along one side.
I was prompted to post about the book, though, because of an article in today's New York Times about dirt floors. One thing that caught my imagination the first time I read this book is a garden that is also an indoor dining room. The floor is covered in mosses and ferns. It's lovely.