THE CENTER

With an Eye Towards Nature: A Japanese Garden Design Intensive

Due to operational limitations caused by COVID-19, The International Japanese Garden Training Center has canceled all programming until spring of 2021. Check back often to learn of spring events, seminars, and workshops. 

Date: Spring of 2021, date TBA

Capacity: 12 Participants

Tuition: $1,250

Approved continuing education credit: 25 hours for LA CES by the American Society of Landscape Architects, 12 hours for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers

Applications are closed for With an Eye Towards Nature: A Japanese Garden Design Intensive.

Designing with nature is a powerful but relatively recent current in the western garden making tradition. In Japan, garden makers have for well over a millennium been guided by the philosophy that nature is the first design teacher. That tradition has much to teach us about making places capable of answering ecological needs and providing visitors with a sense of space, stillness and balance even in a hectic, crowded urban setting. This three-day course provides 25 hours of theoretical and hands-on training in the Japanese approach to designing with nature and its modern use and application. Traditional techniques of arranging stone, plants, and water according to nature’s design principles are placed in historical perspective and given contemporary ecological and social context as tools for creating meaningful spaces that connect people to their environment. On-site thematic garden tours and lectures offer theoretical instruction in observing and analyzing composition and representations of nature in the garden.

An offsite excursion offers an opportunity to engage with and study the magnificent waterfalls, streams, plant life and rock formations of the Columbia Gorge, including an overnight at the stunning Menucha Retreat center in Corbett, Oregon.

Drawing by hand is foundational to critical thinking, absorbing skills at the intuitive level, and developing a cultivated eye, and is the course’s core hands-on activity.  Students are expected to keep documentation of their observations and drawing work in a sketchbook. A required preparatory module including readings and assignments will be given well in advance of the course’s start.

The Design Intensive qualifies for 16 continuing education units for members of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, and CEU eligibility for other professional societies is pending and will be updated shortly.

Learning objectives: After the course, students should be able to recognize, explain and be able to apply to their work:

  • Natural landscape patterns and processes in stone, water, and vegetation, and how they can be abstracted or otherwise referenced in a designed landscape
  • The traditional Japanese process of designing from the details up
  • The core Japanese aesthetics of suggestion, simplicity, irregularity, and perishability
  • Main design techniques in Japanese garden design including asymmetry, balance, borrowed scenery, enclosure, hide and reveal, blank space, and layering
  • Scales of nature and ways nature has historically been represented in Japanese gardens

The Center is certified by the American Society of Landscape Architects as an approved LA CES  (Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System) provider. Our courses are also eligible for continuing education credit by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association.

Please contact Garden Curator Sada Uchiyama at [email protected] for credit hours for specific events. 

Photos by Kristin Faurest

More Information About the Intensive

Who can apply?

Design professionals, primarily landscape architects, landscape designers, and architects, but members of other design disciplines are welcome to apply.

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What will we learn in this intensive?

After the course, participants should be able to recognize, explain and be able to apply to their work:

  • Natural landscape patterns and processes in stone, water, and vegetation, and how they can be abstracted or otherwise referenced in a designed landscape
  • The traditional Japanese process of designing from the details up
  • The Japanese aesthetics of suggestion, simplicity, irregularity and perishability
  • Design techniques in Japanese garden arts including asymmetry, balance, borrowed scenery, enclosure, hide and reveal, blank space, and layering
  • Contrasting ways and scales that nature has historically been represented in Japanese gardens such as literal, symbolic, or evocative
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What is included with course tuition?

  • Preparatory reading materials
  • All onsite activities and instruction
  • Garden admission all three days
  • Learning materials
  • Writing and drawing materials
  • Transportation, guided field trips in the Columbia Gorge and overnight accomodation at Menucha Retreat Center
  • Some meals
  • Hot and cold drinks during breaks
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What is the timeline?

Applications open:  TBA

Applications due: TBA

Successful applicants notified by: TBA

Payment due by: TBA

Preparatory materials emailed to accepted students by: TBA

Preparatory assignments due: TBA

Capacity: 12 participants Tuition: $1,250

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When and where will the intensive take place?

Dates: TBA

Location: TBA

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Who will be teaching the intensive?

Instructors: Sadafumi Uchiyama & Desirae Wood

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What else do I need to know?

This course is designed for working design professionals. Design students will also be considered.

Applicants should be able to use drafting tools, have a good working knowledge of landscape graphics, and be able to draw plans, perspectives, and cross-sections to scale by hand. Apply here.

Tuition includes some but not all meals. More detailed information will be provided prior to the course.

Refund Policy: A refund of 50% can be issued up to a month before the event.

Participants should bring a reusable water bottle and dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather.

The course does not include other forms of hands-on work besides drawing.

A letter certifying successful completion will be provided upon request for obtaining CEU or PD credits.

Email Garden Curator, Sadafumi Uchiyama with any questions.

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Though I have taken longer workshops, I felt the locations and the exercises changed my perceptions and skills in a significant way. I look forward to applying the lessons of observation, drawing and perceiving and I hope the PJG offers similar workshops going forward. Thank you for creating the workshop, providing beautiful materials and wonderful meals, and supporting the class throughout the three days.

–Lynn Wolfstone, Portland-based landscape designer and 2019 Design Intensive student

It was a challenging and memorable experience, and I am grateful and honored to have been selected for the inaugural class. I took away many lessons, both simple and significant, and I look forward to applying these professionally and personally.

–Christie Coxley, Seattle-based landscape designer and 2019 Design Intensive student

I’m still digesting all the moments, looking over at Sada’s sketches and observations, hearing all the presentations and remembering all the leaves falling as I watched the details around the garden. Simply magical, thanks for the timing and quality of class.

–Anael Resino, Boulder-based stonemason and 2019 Design Intensive student