Home Improvement

Japanese Garden Design Ideas You Can Try Out

April 30, 2020

It’s the start of summer, which means you’re probably imagining how you’ll set up your garden. Instead of repeating design ideas from last year, find inspiration from around the world. Japan, in particular, has a long history of creative and stunning garden design. Elements such as water features, rock displays and natural moss can bring an ambient touch to your garden at home.

Check out a few Japanese garden design ideas you can try out this summer. Play around with different features and see if you can draw inspiration for your own gardening plans.


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1. Build Tea House

When you imagine a Japanese garden, you may picture a traditional tea house. It’s a place for people to relax together while maintaining a sacred space for ceremonies. Any sheltered structure in your garden could act as your tea house and a spot to experience peace on your property.

2. Construct a Pond

There are many ways to construct a pond, depending on what you want from it. Dig one deep enough for koi fish, which Japanese people respect as a symbol of luck and have done for centuries. If you’re not good at caring for fish, you can also make a shallow pond that has a gentle trickling sounds to add ambiance to your garden.

3. Lantern Lighting

Lighting is an important aesthetic consideration for any large garden. Lanterns are a varied tradition in Japanese garden design, and can easily be adapted for your own garden. Choose stone lanterns in keeping with the other design elements listed and strategically place them to give a warm glow while you enjoy your garden.

4. Form a Mountainside

Mountains are a treasured backdrop for many Japanese cities, so they’re often recreated in the form of large stones in gardens. Stack large rocks into a mountain shape or use boulders if you have ample space to work with. Surrounding them with herbs or small plants adds to the imagery and elevates the stones into artwork.

5. Design a Rock Display

Some Japanese gardens created a new definition. Also known as rock gardens, they’re a plot of sand or gravel with stones or rocks placed at a distance from each other. The display was a place to find your zen and value nature, which you can recreate at home.

Fill a shallow dish with sand and choose a handful of small rocks to place on the sand. Use a fork or tiny rake to draw lines in the sand that represent rippling water. You can also do this with sand in your yard. Just make sure the only things in the display are your chosen rocks.

6. Lay Out Stepping Stones

Stepping stones are another Japanese garden design that Americans may skip over as they construct their yearly garden. It’s a visual aid to guide visitors through your plants, but it also serves as an easy way to tell where your plants begin and end. If you love to tend to overgrown leafy shrubs and sprawling vines, stepping stones might be your new favorite thing to add to your garden.

7. Focus on Moss

Americans like to keep anything that isn’t a designated plant out of their yard, but Japanese gardens are homes to naturally occurring moss. You can grow moss on rocks in your garden if you place them in semi-shady spots. This greenery will need a moist home that gets indirect sunlight to flourish.

Make your moss display stand out as a place of peace by installing a meditation bench. While the corner of your garden is in the shade, you can sit down to meditate and use your moss stones to ground you in returning to a heart of gratitude.

Japanese Garden Ideas for Your Home

Japanese garden designs are breathtaking, but they won’t all work in every garden. Think about your yard before you head to the store. How much space can you work with, and what sized garden will you grow? The answers will help you pick design elements that fit your property and enhance your garden throughout the summer.

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