Senior Shares Love for Japanese Garden

Bill Maina, a resident of Presbyterian Village North (PVN), has been visiting the Fort Worth Japanese Garden for the last 40 years.

A little over 20 years ago, he was inspired to design his very own Japanese garden in the backyard of his second Dallas home. Fast forward to his current residence at Presbyterian Village North, and Maina has created a new Japanese garden in the backyard of his patio home.

“I was fortunate to get a patio home with a view of the greenbelt, a dry creek bed and a walking path,” said Maina. “The landscaper helped me move my lanterns, boulders and polished river rocks from the old house into the backyard of my new home.

“We spent much time determining where everything should go in the new space and what we should add to it. We brought in an antique Chinese mile marker, a pagoda, and Mexican beach pebbles. With his assistance, I added four Japanese maples in the back patio area and two in the front. Coincidentally the previous occupants of my home also enjoyed Japanese gardening, so there was already a Japanese maple on the side of the house, some yaupon hollies and a sprinkler system.”

Though Maina is a self-taught gardener, each time he has created a Japanese garden, he hired a landscape architect to assist with the design and layout.

In his first Japanese garden, Maina brought in Japanese stone lanterns and large boulders. He created a dry creek bed with a stone bridge over it and added areas with gravel to make it more interesting.

When he moved into PVN (a senior living community in Dallas) three-and-a-half years ago, he brought his Japanese garden with him.

Maina was fortunate to get a patio home with a view of the greenbelt, a dry creek bed, and a walking path. The new landscaper helped him move his lanterns, boulders, and polished river rocks from the old house into the backyard of his new home.

In his second Japanese garden, he brought in an antique Chinese mile marker, a pagoda, Mexican beach pebbles, and Japanese maples. In addition, Maina added Aztec grass, Japanese holly ferns, dwarf ginkgo trees, small metal lanterns, a red boulder, some flagstone around the patio, and he finished it off with Chinese garden stools.

He even added some maple trees on the green belt to make the area more visually interesting.

Though the landscape architect played an integral part in the process, Maina has changed a few things and filled in vacant spaces. He went on to design the front yard on his own. He selected plants that look good year-round.

“A principle of Japanese garden design is that people should be able to enjoy the garden from inside the house,” said Maina. “In my home, I have three big picture windows that look out onto my garden. Everything in the garden was designed to be viewed from inside my home so that I get a good view as I move through the house. I love being able to look out at nature, as it brings me peace.”

Maina drew much of his inspiration for his garden from books, the Japanese Garden in Fort Worth, and garden tours he has taken in various parts of the world – including Japan, England, Italy, British Columbia (Canada), and Seattle. 

“Bill’s yards are an incredible sight to behold, and we are thrilled that he has invested his passion into his home in the Presbyterian Village North community,” said Bryan Cooper, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “Research shows that viewing nature has positive effects on mental well- being, like easing stress and bringing a sense of tranquility. For those who don’t have patio homes, we work diligently to make sure the entire 66-acre campus is beautiful for all who observe it, from both inside and outside.”

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist with a background in crime and government reporting and an obsession with all things culture and arts. She serves as the Managing Editor for Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, curating content for the Living Well and Faith sections, as well as producing the Fall and Spring society sections and 20 Under 40. From luncheons to galas to exhibition openings to new Dallas restaurants, you can find her out and about on Instagram @Bianca_TBD or @peoplenewspapers You can also reach her by email at [email protected] For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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