The LEGO Icons 10315 Tranquil Garden is a peaceful Japanese-inspired garden scene with delightful details (and plenty of plant bricks). I don’t often buy sets personally but occasionally one will come along that calls my name. Having spent some time in Japan, this one tugged on some heart strings and I knew I would be buying it.
Gratefully, I was given this set to review by The LEGO Group through BrickCentral. All words are my honest opinion.
Coming in at $109.99 for 1,363 bricks, I think it’s reasonably priced despite not coming with any minifigures, although it would have been wonderful if it had included one or two minifigures wearing the traditional Japanese kimono. I found the building process to be enjoyable and was able to build it in one session over the course of a few hours.
One of my favorite parts of the build was the red bridge that crosses the stream. Flex tubes and clip bricks all satisfyingly snap together to create the cute, arched bridge. I haven’t personally done much with flex tubes in my own builds and it made me want to do some experimenting with new techniques.
Another part of the build I enjoyed was the pavilion that houses the tea ceremony. With its curved roof corners, “rice-paper” walls, and neatly displayed tea setup, it really is the centerpiece of the garden. The whole building is also impressively built at a nearly-diagonal angle, bringing even more emphasis to it.
The most tedious parts of the build were the water and the black border that surrounds the garden. The water is merely a bunch of transparent light blue tiles that takes focused attention to place correctly or you might end up having to pull up several tiles to correct a mistake. And the border is simply a bunch of 2x2x2/3 curved slopes that results in a similar construction to the base of the Bonsai Tree 10281 but more than twice as big.
As for details, this set is packed with plenty of them. I’ve already mentioned the bridge and the tea house, but there’s also many other details like the water lilies, stone lanterns, a variety of plants, nine koi fish, and a stone pathway that leads to the tea house. You can even move the plants around easily to customize the garden to your own taste!
These details add color variety and points of interest for the eye. On top of that, they also make for some great photo opportunities (which of course is why I’m here)!
At first, I thought shooting the garden would be a tranquil experience. While I still enjoyed the creative process, it wasn’t as straightforward as I had hoped. The border on the set combined with the limited number of plants presented some challenges that I was able to remedy after some thinking.
First, I removed the border. This got rid the dark line along the horizon of the scene and allowed me to get some lower shots closer to the water level.
And second, I built more bamboo. Thankfully, I happened to have recently purchased a bunch of the candle stick part in bright green so I stacked them, added some plant bricks on top, and scattered my new bamboo stalks throughout the scene to add more depth.
I chose to set the scene at night to create a bit of a mysterious and magical atmosphere that I feel gardens like these give off. I also had to be creative with some of the angles of the shots due to the limited size of the set but in the end, I am satisfied with the photos I was able to get.
Overall, I think this is a great set that can be enjoyed as a display piece or used in a variety of ways for LEGO photography and comes with some great plant parts as well that can be repurposed for other scenes in the future. My main gripe is the lack of minifigures which is really a missed opportunity. But it has a nice aesthetic with thoughtful design and plenty of details, so in the end, I give it a score of 8/10.