The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 7. Garden Wells

Well frames

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The well-border or frame is sometimes a continuation of the boarded lining of the well, projecting like an inverted tub or barrel from the ground, and bound with hoops of twisted bamboo strips. Such a Well will generally have a sloped, boarded drain, and a single long flat stone near it. This is the most commonplace kind of construction, rarely employed as an ornament in gardens, but kept for use in the kitchen court. Another more picturesque kind of well-frame is made of a square border of rough logs in several courses, crossing like an Oxford frame at the angles, and tied with coarse black or brown cords. Thick half decayed and irregular boards, used alone, or in combination with round logs or squared timbers, forming square or octagonal borders to Wells, are not uncommon. For the more important gardens a well-border of stone is generally preferred. One kind consists of a solid square structure of worked granite or some other hard stone, rounded off at the top and containing a circular well-hole neatly hewn; it should have a finely tooled oblong step-stone in keeping with the border. But a more favoured arrangement is that of irregular slabs of unhewn stone, roughly jointed together and forming a shell of rude shape round the opening. Occasionally upright slabs of stone of better finish are used after the manner of woodwork, being halved at the angles like a box. The size of such well-borders is three feet square and eighteen inches high. Well-frames are often covered with a mat or flexible lid constructed of close bamboo strips, to keep out insects and rain.