Japanese Lanterns Add Glow to Gardens

by Keith Markensen

Japanese gardens are beautiful and creative. One of these lush retreats will consist of hardy plants that appear delicate, exotic flowers, and ornamental dcor and lighting.

The paper lantern is a common light of choice for a Japanese garden. This type of light creates a subtle glow that gives the garden a peaceful and romantic ambiance. These lanterns are constructed of woven wire and a particular type of parchment paper that is generally painted with an Asian theme. The most common lanterns are spherical in shape and white in color, but if you’re adamant and dedicated in your search, you can find a wide variety of shapes and colors.

Cuboid lanterns are also a popular choice. This style of light is typically a strand of miniature lanterns made of the same parchment as the larger variety and consists of a pallet of bright colors. Mini lanterns run on low-wattage, a nightlight bulb works nicely and is not too overpowering for the small shades.

“Guide lights” are another typical feature in the Japanese garden. Originally used as pathway lights for temples, they are now used to light the way for guests attending a traditional Japanese tea ceremony; these ceremonies are generally held in the evening.

Guide lights are made from granite or a ‘granite-like’ material. These lanterns are typically rectangular in shape and are outfitted with a wooden window frame filled with acrylic panels to allow light to escape. They stand upright (much like a tiki-torch) and are supported by a sturdy but aesthetically pleasing dowel. These lights make an excellent addition to a garden pathway or a sidewalk.

Hanging lanterns will add subtle lighting to many areas in a Japanese garden and can provide additional imaginative and artistic flair to the already plush landscape.

Silk lanterns are another popular choice. While beautiful, they are extremely delicate, therefore it is imperative that these lanterns be used in an area that will allow them protection from the elements. Silk lanterns are a feminine choice and are generally very rich in color. They can be either ceiling mounted or attached to a standing pole. The light they give off is soft and romantic.

If you’re a fan of the Japanese garden, you can certainly add touches of ambiance to your current surroundings by incorporating the Japanese lantern or landscaping with boulders. Test your natural landscaping skills by throwing in some bamboo and Asian inspired colors to create the feel of the Japanese garden with little of the effort. You should be able to find many Asian inspired decorations, including the ever popular lantern and the landscape boulders, online or in specialty shops. eBay is always an excellent source for finding those unique but ‘hard to find’ touches that will add individual panache to your garden or patio.

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