Adding unique design elements to your Jackson landscaping is a great way to give your property visual interest and character. Sure, the classic elements of a lawn, flower garden, and trees aren’t going anywhere, but complementing those features with other touches can go a long way.
In this post, we’d like to touch on an idea that may be new to you – Japanese wood burning. This technique, also known as Shou Sugi Ban, involves strategically burning wood to create a stunningly beautiful design. Not only does Japanese wood burning do a great job of creating a memorable look, but it also preserves the wood and protects it from the weather. You probably won’t want to pack your landscape with piece after piece of burnt wood, but using this method carefully can be an excellent choice.
For help with any part of your landscaping design or creation process in Jackson, WY, turn to the pros at TLC. We are trained in this field, have worked with countless clients throughout the area, and are passionate about making every piece of property live up to its potential. Contact TLC today to learn more!
One of the primary motivations for using Japanese wood burning as part of your landscaping is to create a stark contrast to the rest of your design. When your landscape is properly cared for, everything will be living – meaning you’ll have lots of vibrant green shades, along with perhaps some color from flowers and maybe changing leaves in the fall. These are all great aspects of a landscape design, but they do start to blend.
This is where contrast comes into play. Sometimes, contrast is created by bringing man-made materials into the design, such as a metal architectural element. That’s one approach that works nicely, and Japanese wood burning is another. There aren’t many options for incorporating dark shades into your design, so these burned pieces are a great opportunity. From completely black to varying shades of dark brown, there are many excellent possibilities with this technique.
Of course, simply reading this article isn’t going to make you an expert in this tradition, but it can help you get started. While there are various types of wood to use effectively for this technique, we are going to focus here on cedar. Using cedar is a traditional choice, and it is a natural fit here in the Jackson, WY area. You can explore other wood options such as pine and spruce, but cedar is a great place to start for your first project.
Before bringing out the heat, you’ll want to create whatever it is that you are going to give this treatment. For example, perhaps you want to make an accent wall, a table, or just a box. Whatever the case, get to work on that piece of the puzzle first, then turn your attention to the next step.
With your piece ready to go, it’s time to find a source of heat. You aren’t going to get the job done with a box of matches or a lighter – you’ll need significant heat to scorch the wood successfully. A blow torch is the right tool for the job, although within that category there is plenty of variation. If you have a garden torch that is sometimes used for burning up weeds, you can put that to work on the wood.
Of course, we can’t go through this section without reminding you of the need for safety in this process. Working with fire is inherently dangerous. Make sure you are working far away from anything flammable, and in a properly ventilated space. It’s best to have a fire extinguisher available as well – you can never be too prepared when working with fire.
Once the surface of the wood reaches your desired level of char, you can stop with the heat and move on to finishing. After it cools, take a wire brush or something similar to the surface to knock off the loose ash and reveal the results. If you would like it darker, you can also go back for another round of burning.
Perhaps the hardest part of landscape design for the average homeowner is figuring out how all the pieces should fit together. How much of each element should you include? How should you organize the land to give it visual appeal while keeping the maintenance manageable? We wrestle with these kinds of questions on a daily basis, so the team at TLC is ready and willing to help you sort through your design choices. Contact TLC today to schedule an appointment and we will be happy to serve you.
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“The best friend on earth of man is the tree: when we use the tree respectfully and economically we have one of the greatest resources of the earth.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright