FLAT GARDENS. Next to be explained are different examples of the (Hira-niwa), or Flat Garden style. Designs of this type are supposed to represent either a mountain valley, or an extensive moor; if the former, the surroundings should be steep and thickly planted; if the latter, the landscape should be bare and open. Hira-niwa are mostly used for confined areas in crowded cities, or for laying out in front of buildings of secondary importance. Numerous examples may be seen in the back courts of merchants' houses in Kioto and Osaka, no interior space being apparently too small or circumscribed for converting into a fresh-looking and artistic garden of this kind. Three degrees of elaboration are, however, applied to this as to other classes of compositions; and Flat Gardens, if in the finished style, are not considered out of place as a portion of the more extensive grounds of the gentry and nobility. Whilst a Hill Garden will be used in front of the principal reception rooms, a Flat Garden may be employed facing rooms of less importance in the same estate.