Spaces For Renewal
Strolling Asian Garden
One Bloomfield Hills homeowner wanted to recapture the serenity of strolling gardens he’d visited in Asia. “He wanted a more natural style and feel for the backyard, with a peaceful setting,” says Daryl Toby, owner of AguaFina Gardens & Imports in Sylvan Lake. Toby says the landscaping in front of the house reflects a formal European style.
He created the Asian-influenced garden by balancing mature trees, including Japanese maples and sculptured pines, with waterfalls, koi ponds, natural pathways and perennial plants.
“He wanted to be able to stroll the garden and have a great view from the deck and kitchen nook,” Toby says. Indeed, the owner begins his mornings with a trip to feed the koi, a colorful member of the carp family, and walk pathways that give way to various views designed for contemplation and reflection.
The garden is enhanced with traditional hand-carved Japanese granite lanterns and pagodas as well as an antique stone water basin. Originally located outside temples and shrines, these water basins were used by Buddhist monks for cleansing the hands and wetting the mouth as an act of purifying mind and body.
With Asian accents inside the home, the idea was to unify the spaces, Toby says. “The garden flows from interior to the exterior. The water flows toward the house. That’s good feng shui,” he says, referring to the Chinese practice of positioning objects for positive energy and effects.
The sound of flowing water was essential to the owner, Toby adds. “You hear the babbling brook, which brings that peaceful nature and has a nice echo,” he says. “And the way the water veils off the stone, it doesn’t disrupt the water, so you can still see the koi.” That’s something the owner truly appreciates, Toby says. “He loves to see his koi.”