Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shou Sugi Ban: The Latest Trend in Fence Design

Scorched wood technique makes for "mysterious" garden walls.
Photo by: Hisao Suzuki.
From The Wall Street Journal
August 2, 2013

Transforming backyards, the scorched-wood technique from Japan is catching fire in America

AS A GARDEN DESIGNER, I'm a fan of dark fences. Their color provides an emphatic backdrop for plants, but doesn't compete for attention. Until recently, though, the only ways to achieve a fence in a sophisticated chocolate, gunmetal or charcoal shade were paint (fated to peel) or stain (likely to fade).

No more. The Japanese art of charred wood—known as shou sugi ban—is making inroads in American landscaping. It's believed that the technique's Asian roots date to the 1700s, when the Japanese first started subjecting wood siding to fire as a way to preserve it. The charring protects the timber from sun, wind, water, decay and, yes, fire, greatly extending its life.

Recently, American landscape designers and architects have begun playing with this seemingly pyromaniacal technique when it comes to fences, and loving the results. Charred wood is seductive—its appearance ranging from lightly scorched to something resembling dried prehistoric lava or alligator skin, depending on the degree of burning. When shou-sugi-ban boards are used en masse to surround a garden, the effect is elegantly mysterious.

See full article:  http://goo.gl/q1gMOE

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