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Japanese Garden Notes

Japanese Garden Notes

A Visual Guide to Elements and Design

Marc Peter Keane's personal journey through 100 Japanese gardens, looking at them with a designer’s eye.

Matching some 400 color photographs to brief, informed observations, renowned garden designer Marc Peter Keane walks us through 100 Japanese gardens, stopping along the way to note essential elements of design, technique, and culture. Covering everything from large-scale aspects of space and balance to subtle elements that are often overlooked, this is an innovative, stunningly visual guide for planning and inspiration.
















6.625 x 10"












"An elegantly soulful interpretation of the essential elements of Japanese garden design."

The New York Times

"An inspirational source for any individual interested in Japanese gardens and their design."

Choice Reviews

"Gorgeous... Like the gardens themselves, every corner of Japanese Garden Notes has been carefully considered, making for a delightful, nourishing coffee-table book."

The Japan Times

"This is a useful book for the layman as well as those more knowledgeable of Japanese gardens. It is also a valuable resource for designers both for the design insights and the ample photographic examples."

The Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association

"It’s hard to think of a better person to serve as a personal guide through 100 of Japan’s finest gardens."

Spoon & Tamago

"As evidenced through this selection of photographs, the garden design ideas vary in their composition and execution. Some include luscious and open green spaces, while others are more contained and have meticulous arrangements. Each will make you want to go and connect with nature."

My Modern MET

"A true work of art... that all who are interested in Japanese gardens should have on their bookshelf."

Shakkei: The Journal of the Japanese Garden Society

"There is not a gardener, of any kind, anywhere that would not benefit from owning this book"

The Botanical Gardening Group

"A jumping-off point for audiences interested in learning more about Japanese gardens, and offers inspiration for casual observers, garden design students, and aficionados."

Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia

“In this thoughtful, marvelous book, Marc Keane distills over three decades experience observing, sketching, photographing, researching, and building Japanese gardens. The result is a series of compelling verbal and visual reflections on the design principles and philosophical values of Japanese gardens. These concise insights—some familiar, others fresh—are relevant to anyone who cares about how places of beauty are created and why they are meaningful. In the crowded field of books on Japanese gardens, Marc Keane has produced a classic.”

—Kendall H. Brown, author of Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America

“More than any other book on Japanese Gardens, Marc Keane’s book sheds light on the intricate and often overlooked details and important nuances of the Japanese garden with the insight of an experienced designer and practitioner and the eloquence of a scholar, of which Keane is both. A must-have volume for anyone seriously interested in understanding the spirit and attention to subtle detail that make Japanese gardens places of tranquility and refuge wherever they exist in the world.”

Diane Durston, (Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, and Education) and Sadafumi Uchiyama (Garden Curator), Portland Japanese Garden

“Japanese Garden Notes may be one of the most exquisitely photographed books on Japanese gardens ever published. Keane picks up on the fine details that real lovers of Japanese gardens savor, but which rarely get commented on or illustrated. Organized by theme, this book gives the reader a rich overview of Japanese garden art, while pleasing the eye with surprising, intimate, even intense, photographs."

Alex Kerr, author of Lost Japan

“Japanese Garden Notes captures the beauty and intelligence of Japanese gardens better than any book I know of. It is a remarkable document."

Leonard Koren, author of Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

"Keane is the perfect person to expound on the finer aspects of the Japanese garden. [Japanese Garden Notes] captures the elegance of such a calming place."

JQ magazine


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About the Author(s)

Marc Peter Keane

Marc Peter Keane

Lived in Japan for 20 years, designing gardens for individuals, companies, and temples. Author of The Japanese Tea Garden, The Art of Setting Stones and Japanese Garden Design (Tuttle Publishing, 2000). He is co-author (with Jiro Takei) of Sakuteiki: Visions of the Japanese Garden, (Tuttle, 2001).

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