Japanese Garden Design Ideas

You will find Japanese garden design ideas in this article that will show you how to incorporate the Japanese influence in big or small ways.

If you’ve ever visited and experienced a Japanese garden, you’ve probably felt the peace and serenity that it brings.

Traditional Japanese gardens started out as religious gardens that the monks could go to meditate and experience spiritual awakening through nature. The gardens were a symbolic re-creation of what was considered the ideal landscape, perfect form and harmony.

From the stark Zen Gardens to the lush imperial gardens – the feelings that are produced in Japanese garden design are the same- peace, calm, simplicity, and grace.

It’s no wonder that this style of garden has become so popular in the western world with our fast paced and hectic lives. Key design concepts

The basic design principles are simplicity, grace, elegance, and the use of natural elements to create a garden space the offers peace and tranquility. The subtle placement of the plants and rocks are done in a way that looks natural.

When you look at Japanese garden pictures , you’ll notice there is an absence of bright colors to eliminate distraction from the meditation. These gardens allow you to sit, dream and think, without the distraction and fussiness of bright pots and flowers surrounding you.

The garden furnishings (if there are any) will blend in to the landscaping unlike western gardens where there is often strong color contrasts in growing flowers and furnishings that stand out against the garden background.

Japanese Garden Elements

The main elements of Japanese gardens are water, rock and plants.

Japanese garden design is full of symbolism; water represents life, rocks often mimic mountains in the landscape, or a gravel river, rock and white gravel may be designed to symbolize mountains and ocean water.

Islands are another design element. They represent life . The island might be an actual island in a body of water, , but rocks representing an island, or smooth low mounds of plants or moss also can be used to represent an island.

There should be a natural flow without geometric forms of lines and hard shapes.The plant placement looks natural, but every plant posistion is well thought out.

Japanese gardens are not symmetrical, and so the focal point is never in the center of the garden, but off to one side.

The subtle gardens are designed to mimic nature and be revealed to the guest in layers as they walk about.

Color is used sparingly in Japanese gardens. Green is the main color and evergreens contribute to a 4 season garden. White may be pop of color here and there on the green backdrop, but flowers are limited to the blossoms of the trees or blooming shrubs in a traditional Asian garden.


Water

  • Ponds and waterfalls are often used in Japanese garden design.

  • In the absence of an actual water feature, representation of water is sometimes made with a stone basin, or expanse of white gravel.

  • Incorporate a trickling bamboo water feature into your garden.The sound of tricking water is soothing and relaxing.


    Using Rocks in the Japanese Garden

  • Create a gravel path with stepping stones.

  • Stone paths can be designed to mimic a winding river.

  • Create a unique dry Japanese rock garden using gravel that is raked in a pattern, and only a few bonsai trees.


    Plants for the Japanese Garden

  • Use traditional Asian plant material like Dogwood, Azalea, moss , Japanese Black Pine , bamboo, junipers, and other evergreens if appropriate for your planting zone.
  • For more modern Japanese garden design ideas, incorporate Japanese maples, cherry blossoms, hydrangea, ferns and hosta.


    japanese garden with rocks and water
    stone path

    More Japanese Garden Features

    Ornaments used in Japanese garden design are often made of natural materials and blend into the garden and landscape .Most ornaments originally had a functional use in the garden , and have since become symbols of the Japanese style.

    Adding one or two of these Japanese garden design ideas or garden accessories will help to give your garden an Asian look and feel.

  • Rain chains

  • Stone Lanterns

  • Spiral walkways

  • Stepping stones

  • Tea-house or meditation house

  • Garden bridge

  • Bamboo fencing or screen


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