Images: Minna Kivinen, Zentuvo, Rendeko (visualization)
The Japanese-inspired Honka Haiku is the result of a design collaboration between architect Marko Simsiö, interior designer Maru Hautala and landscape architect Asako Hashimoto. In this article, Asako Hashimoto describes the garden of the Haiku house and gives tips on how to design an atrium, a Japanese garden that fits the Finnish landscape.
Explore Honka Haiku with landscape architect Asako Hashimoto!
Harmonious and balanced environments
Architect Asako Hashimoto has over twenty years of experience in designing outdoor spaces. A native of Japan, Hashimoto has lived in Finland since 2010.
“I’ve designed yards for private individuals, housing companies, stores and schools. When I was working for the City of Hyvinkää, I designed a number of local parks.”
Among those Hashimoto has designed are a park called Mihana-En for the Housing Fair held in Hyvinkää, which was chosen as Environmental Structure of the Year in 2014. She likes to design harmonious and balanced environments, taking account of the demands of the four seasons in Finland.
“Being able to make environments more beautiful and pleasant is the most rewarding aspect of my work.”
A haiku poem summarises a natural landscape, season and feeling. This garden summarises the surrounding nature.
Asako Hashimoto, landscape archtitect
Honka Haiku’s garden symbolises the surrounding nature
The forest nature and rocky terrain in the fair area inspired the design of Honka Haiku’s garden. The house blends into the stunning archipelago plot, and the Japanese garden symbolises the landscape as a whole.
“A haiku poem summarises a natural landscape, season and feeling. This garden summarises the surrounding nature,” Hashimoto says.
Haiku’s garden is a modern version of a traditional Japanese garden combined with a Finnish landscape. The different elements in the garden symbolise nature with its waterbodies and islets using abstract shapes.
“My design consists of three areas: a front yard, atrium and back yard. In the front yard, the building and plot blend into the natural landscape. The front yard depicts the flow of water and islets with wildflowers. The walkway is like a bridge that runs through the “river” and the “islet”.
The atrium is separated from the rest of the yard and looks beautiful throughout the seasons, featuring plants such as maple, azalea and burning bush. When viewed from the living room, the atrium forms a landscape painting, with the window as the frame. When looked at from the spa, the atrium with its stone lanterns resembles an onsen, a Japanese hot-spring spa. The practical backyard to the north features an inviting fire-pit site.
Asako Hashimoto’s tips for designing an atrium
It is typical of Japanese gardens to present a microcosm of nature.
“For example, in a Japanese garden large rocks symbolise mountains, and gravel symbolises a river or sea. The front yard of the Haiku house is located between two large rocks, forming a kind of a valley, in which I placed a river with islets.”
According to Hashimoto, the key elements of a Japanese garden, such as rocks, gravel, stone lanterns and plants, go well with various environments when adapted to the terrain. Water and rock elements blend well into a Finnish landscape. Finnish nature offers beautiful rocks that can be used as such in a Japanese garden.
“Many of the plants essential to a Japanese garden cannot survive in Finland, so it’s advisable to look for plants that do survive in Finland and fit the spirit of a Japanese garden.”
Hashimoto says that different moss species and ferns, for example, are perfect for a Japanese-style garden. Plants suitable for the conditions in southern Finland and a Japanese garden include Japanese maple, full-moon maple, burning bush, Japanese andromeda (zones I–III), azalea, balloon flower, Hakone grass, mossy saxifrage and Japanese pachysandra, which were also planted in Haiku’s yard.
“I also like the following plants that withstand the conditions in southern Finland and are suitable for a Japanese garden: Korean maple, Sargent’s cherry, rowan, dwarf mountain pine, dwarf Scots pine, rhododendron, mountain laurel, hydrangea, Siberian iris, hosta and creeping broad-leaved sedge.”
For example, in a Japanese garden large rocks symbolise mountains, and gravel symbolises a river or sea. The front yard of the Haiku house is located between two large rocks, forming a kind of a valley, in which I placed a river with islets.
Asako Hashimoto, landscape architect
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