Dad spent £10K transforming his drab backyard into a Japanese garden - and has now added a monk's Zen space

A dad spent £10K transforming his drab backyard into a Japanese garden - and has now added a monk's Zen space. Dad-of-two Martin Fitton, 55, began the massive project in 2009 and recently added a teahouse and the 'meditation garden'. He has perfect Bonsai trees and has been told by several Japanese visitors that it is a home from home. Martin works on the garden in Brislington Village, Bristol, during the week as he does weekend shifts as a tanker driver. He has never visited Japan but hopes to go in 2025 and is saving up, and has yet to try Japanese food - and prefers Chinese. Martin has now opening up the garden to the public. He said: "We are going to open it as a business to put money back into it. "I do all the work over the winter, I built the garden on a budget. I spent about £50 a month on it. "I did everything in the garden apart from the lanterns and recently added a Zen garden which monks use to meditate. "One Japanese visitor couldn't believe that I made everything myself, including a replica of a famous temple. "I was visited by a YouTuber last year who came to the UK to visit it. "After the pandemic some visitors from Japan and Asia said it felt like being at home when they couldn't travel. "I studied Japanese garden culture after going on a course in Dorset in 2009. "Every day after dinner I go and sweep the leaves, it isn't like an English garden as there's no mud. "We have had around 22 visitors per hour. I open it for charity but also to put money into the garden." He will open the garden as part of NGS (National Garden scheme). Martin added: "I am overwhelmed with the attention, I would have dreamed creating something in my garden would go so far in the UK and go even further in Japan. "I have made some wonderful friends from Japan. I get a lot of people contacting my through my Facebook page, YouTube channel and website saying I have given them inspiration to go out in their gardens and create their own Japanese garden or finish something they started years ago. "They also say after seeing my Facebook post and reels they feel calm, happy and take their mind off problems in their life." A student held an exhibition in the garden and an artist used it as inspiration for a painting. Martin added: "I do have a kimono and dressed up once like the Karate Kid. "My neighbours think it's wonderful and can't believe the garden is in Bristol. "In 14 years I've spent £10,000 on it. "I have got to try Japanese food. "Last year we had a kimono photoshoot here."