While we love nature in its most natural form, this artificial landscape near the Nasu Mountains in Japan caught my eye. Designed by landscape artist Junya Ishigami, the project won the 2019 Obel Award for demonstrating how human intervention can enhance a landscape, rather than damaging it.
The water garden, which is attached to the artist’s retreat, is formed of 318 trees planted around 160 small ponds. Each mature tree was painstakingly relocated from the area where the residency was built, uprooted and replanted over the course of four years. The ponds or biotopes, are miniature habitats for aquatic plants and animals. Leaves and sky are reflected in the pools of water, which are surrounded by a carpet of moss and pathways made of stepping stones.