Our Projects

A Northern Garden Looks East

Do you install Oriental Gardens?”  This question was poised to WoodSpirit Gardens some years ago from a customer near Aitkin, MN. Her question was inspired by the fact she had been born in Japan and loves the oriental culture, forms, and gardens.  “We love to” was our reply.

We proceeded to explain we have a customer who resides in Hong Kong and has a vacation home near Cross Lake, MN. We installed a beautiful Oriental Garden for him that included Chinese lamps, a Bonsai type White Cedar tree and a ‘Moss Pond’. Many are not familiar with a Moss Pond, which has the appearance of a water feature but is filled with sand rather then water. Often the sand is raked into patterns or forms that emulate waves.  We decided to cultivate moss on the sand rather then rake it. Now it has a soft emerald green blanket across the surface of the ‘pond’ that ‘laps’ against the carefully placed stone at the edge.

Ten years ago, our customer in Aitkin had purchased a Bristle Pine Cone tree, a Hemlock tree, and a Colorado Blue Spruce tree.  All had been carefully manicured in the Bonsai style. She had planted them in a raised garden in the front of her house, along with some Japanese garden art.  The garden was then enclosed with railroad ties. As the years went by, the ties had deteriorated to the point that it was decided a major renovation was needed. A new, authentic Oriental Garden was planned.

The garden would include inlaid Japanese characters representing the four seasons, and an entrance framed by a natural Twisted Cedar arbor. A water garden with a soothing waterfall would be added to help create a quiet corner filled with peace and tranquility.

The Bonsai trees had to be gingerly transplanted, and other plantings common in the East were moved in. A recycled broken cement side walk that included the hand prints of the customers now grown son borders the garden. Three beautiful Koi grace the pond and waterfall that is clearly visible from the kitchen table. An arbor that looks like a letter from the Japanese alphabet, welcomes visitors as they arrive.

Our customers recent thank you card says it all. “We Love our gardens! They are beautiful! Everyone that sees them also thinks the landscaping is beautiful. I was so surprised that you could get so much done in only three days, as promised. We thoroughly enjoyed you and your crew. It was a fun three days! Thank you so much for your hard work in the extreme heat.”


162 State Highway 371 NW   |   Backus, Minnesota 56435   |   218-947-3663   -   888-947-2414