“Nature” needs work

In landscape design, nature has always been held as an ideal model. However, the idealized aesthetic often does not correspond with the practical functional demands. Nothing encapsulates this more than Japanese gardens which have the graceful calm of a tranquil forest, a deceptive laissez-faire of perfected imperfections. What appears to be the effortless product of a perfect harmony with nature is, in fact, the result of countless hours of endless maintenance.

A constant in the gardens visited in Kyoto (other than the crowds) are the omnipresent maintenance staff and gardeners ensuring that the projected image of nature is not disrupted. It takes a lot of work to make something look effortless.