Design Diary: A Japanese Garden in Boston

Almost two years ago I wrote about the fantastic Japanese garden that David Kimelberg created in the courtyard behind his Charlestown, Mass. townhouse – “A Backyard Fit For An Emperor” in the Boston Globe Magazine.

Lawyer by day, gardener and Japanese culture enthusiast on the weekends, Kimelberg researched diligently to learn about the various elements of such gardens, but instead of following the strict rules, he incorporated bits and pieces where he could.

In his garden, the koi pond represents the sea, large rough stones symbolize mountains, and each lantern is an ode to the Japanese temple. There’s a granite bench for contemplation and a slate-roofed model teahouse.

Of course, it’s not all so serious and serene. He and his wife host a Japanese garden party every summer, complete with sushi and sake. They dress the dog like a dragon and encourage guests to wear kimonos.

Kimbelberg on a granite bench, tending a bonsai in his garden.

Photo: Dave Henderson

Shoji-screened doors in a Japanese-inspired room with bamboo flooring (and a sofa from DWR) opens to the garden.

Photo: Dave Henderson

An overview of the courtyard garden. Kimelberg has about 30 bonsai specimens.

Photo: Dave Henderson


The 4′ x 4′ koi pond has five fish.

One of the half dozen Japanese maples in the garden.

Granite lanterns and springtime blooms.

Photo: Dave Henderson

[tweetmeme source=”StyleCarrot” only_single=false]

2 Comments

Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Design Diary

2 Responses to Design Diary: A Japanese Garden in Boston

  1. Anonymous

    They should call you the Japanese Jew. Nice!

What's your style?