How I got 5 stars in the Japanese Garden Competition.
Guide to Japanese Garden Competition
I struggled to get all 5-star ratings in the Japanese Garden contest and couldn't find many tips online, so thought I would make this guide to show what finally worked for me!
- You must mow 100% of the yard and remove all weeds! I know some of those exotic European weeds are pretty, but sadly they must all come out. Leaving some existing trees should be okay for the Japanese garden.
- As others have pointed out, the game appears to split yards into eight segments: Front right corner, Front center, Front left corner, Right side, Left side, Back right corner, Back center, and Back left corner. Try to distribute items among all segments to create balance.
Structures & Statues
- 1 pagoda.
- 4-5 japanese benches.
- 2 bridges.
- 2-4 of each japanese lantern.
- 1-2 elephant statues.
- 1-2 owl statues.
- Both koi ponds.
- 1-2 other ponds.
- 3 boulders per pond (Garden tab > Decorations > Boulders). ie, 4 ponds x 3 boulders/pond = 12 boulders total.
- Bamboo (Plants > Exotic).
- Cherry trees. No need to buy all three sizes if you don't want to.
- Both types of Japanese maples.
- All three sizes of rhododendrons.
- Plenty of bonsai.
I like to put these in my Japanese gardens but do not think the game requires them. You can try adding them if you get less than 5 stars in the plant rating category.
- Leaf-Plants > Round bush 1 meter > Spiraea japonica variety.
- Non-bonsai evergreen trees such as Needle-Plants > Coniferous Shrub - Conical Shape.
The hardest part!
- Try placing all of your plants and equipment out towards the edges of the yard. Let nothing touch the house, and make sure all areas of fence/hedge have items directly in front to mask them off.
- Group like plants together. Include long lines of bamboo, clumps of rhododendrons, groupings of bonsai, a line of cherry trees.
- Similarly, try to balance your statues and lanterns in symmetrical groups. Put identical statues at the four corners of the pagoda, corners of the bridge, one to each side of a bench, etc.
- Several posts have mentioned a zen garden with sand and scattered pebbles, but this did not work for me and in fact I got increased points when I removed the scattering of pebbles. I suspect I was losing points because the pebbles were not symmetrically arranged.
- Finally, the key point: put three boulders at even intervals around your ponds! Create radial symmetry around your ponds using boulders. I leapt from 2.5 to 5 stars after doing this and removing the asymmetrical zen garden.
Pictures of the 5-Star Garden
It ain't that pretty to my eyes, but the rating system loved it!