A Few Simple Japanese Garden Ideas


A Few Simple Japanese Garden Ideas

A Few Simple Japanese Garden Ideas

Are you searching for simple Japanese garden ideas? Japanese gardens are beautiful and tranquil, but you don’t have to admire them from afar. In fact, using a few simple rules you can even create your own version in your own backyard.

To begin with, it’s important to understand that a lot of thought goes into placement, symbolism, and balance when it comes to Japanese gardens. Plants and structures are not placed sporadically. In fact, everything has a meaning as far as where it is placed and what its particular function is.

You might have already noticed that a lot of Oriental garden designs flow naturally and are not based so much on symmetry. This is because as opposed to Western gardens, Oriental gardens try to replicate nature and do not put so much emphasis on evenness.

Top Japanese Garden Ideas

When trying to come up with simple Japanese garden ideas, keep in mind that you don’t need a lot of color or variety. Most Japanese gardens do not contain a multitude of plants or an abundance of color. Instead, they try to focus more on tranquility.

You also shouldn’t worry about not having enough space for your garden, either. In fact, most Japanese gardens are grown in small areas, and plants and landscape designs actually work together to make the areas appear larger.A Few Simple Japanese Garden Ideas

Some simple Japanese garden ideas on how to make a small space appear larger include using structures that are scaled-down in size, planting smaller trees in the distance, using large rocks in the foreground, and planting larger plants upfront if using islands in your landscaping project.

Putting smaller items in the back might go against your natural instincts, but imagine a piece of paper in front of you. If you were drawing a highway on that piece of paper going off into the distance, then the easiest way to show perspective would be to essentially draw a large “V”, with the smallest point in the background and the largest width up front. The same is true of the garden. With the smaller plants and trees in the back, it gives the illusion of distance.

Using trees and trees in the foreground that are brightly colored, while planting the more subdued plants in the back, can also give the illusion of distance. The same can be accomplished by planting fine-textured foliage in the back and plants with large leaves in the front.

Since Japanese gardens try to offer visitors peace and tranquility, then it’s a good idea to have hidden places to sit and wonder. Providing paths, benches, and pagodas can be a good way of encouraging the visitor to wander around. Some other simple Japanese garden ideas are to include small ponds, small bridges, and small rock gardens. Details are very important.

In fact, you should consider paying attention to many of your details as far as your Japanese garden ideas are concerned. When building a rock garden, for instance, choose your rocks carefully and arrange them by size. In many rock formations, there is often a large rock that acts as a “sentinel” and symbolizes Buddha, while the other smaller rocks around it represent his children or his people.

If you would like to add a pond to your garden, then consider placing small details in it that make it more interesting. Plant a cherry tree, for instance, over the pond so that the blossoms are able to fall into the water and the reflection of the tree is caught on the surface. You might also want to place some large rocks in the water as well, to offer texture. Fish are optional.

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Overview of Japanese Gardening

Essentially a cultural gardening form, Japanese Gardening is intended to recreate a realistic, nature-like look as much as possible using shrubs, trees, sand, rock, ponds, artificial hills, and such art forms. Two traditions of Japanese gardening known as the Shinto and Zen traditions largely characterize the reflective and contemplative look that comes across in Japanese gardening. Being much different than Western-style gardening, Japanese gardening is more for soul-soothing and meditational purposes.

There are 3 basic scenery methods in Japanese Gardening. The first is reduced scale, which involves taking some actual scene from nature and reproducing the same on a much smaller scale. Also, the symbolization of this kind is done through abstraction and generalization; an example, in this case, would be the use of white sand in order to suggest an ocean. These parts of nature include the hills, oceans, ponds, rivers and trees, flowing water, etc.

The two kinds of Japanese gardening are Tsukiyama and hiraniwa. Tsukiyama is essentially a hill garden and is composed mainly of ponds and hills. An exact opposite of this is Hiraniwa which is a flat garden with no ponds or hills.


Rocks, water, gravel, stones, moss, hedges, and fences are the basic elements that are made use of in Japanese Gardening, with rocks often being the centerpieces, which lend a spiritual look to the garden. Shinto tradition has it that rocks embody nature’s spirits. Gravel acts as a defining surface of a kind and is employed to reproduce the water’s flow when arranged in a proper manner. Stones are sculpted into lantern forms and give a boundary to the garden. Water, either in the form of a pond, or stream, or waterfall, forms an essential ingredient of the Japanese garden.


Bonsai is one of the several types of signature Japanese gardening plants and arguably the best known around the world. It is the art of everyday training of average plants to resemble large and old trees albeit in miniature form. Many plants including Cypress, Cedar, Pine, Holly, Maple, Beech, and Cherry are used as Bonsai.

These trees’ heights range from 5cm to 1 meter and these are maintained at this height by pruning, re-potting, growth pinching, and branch wiring.

Whatever it may be, but an onlooker of the Japanese garden can, not be affected by the sheer beauty, imagination, and spirituality that emanates from it. It is sure to evoke many different kinds of feelings and is a transforming experience.

Rock Garden Plants

Striking rock gardens can be created where ordinary gardening is impossible or in small spaces and problematic areas of arid climates. The range of plants suiting these conditions is wide and they mostly require good drainage, ample sunlight, and frost protection, but will also benefit from fertile soil and mulching. Although these plants look great in any gardening situation, the natural affinity of shade-providing rocks adds to the aesthetic appeal.

When selecting rocks choose those weathered and aged. These rocks should lie on their heaviest sides and a third of the rock should ultimately show above the two-thirds of plant foliage.

Construction Japanese Garden Types

Japanese Rock Gardens

of perfect balance. These asymmetrical, harmonious theme gardens are based on the perfect proportions of plant- and rock sizes, numbers, and placement. The timelessness and solidity of nature are achieved by using rock, pebbles, sand, and evergreen foliage plants. The five elements of water, wood, fire, earth, and metal are included through chosen objects with added antiquity and emotional associations. Use line and mass in the garden design and concentrate on greenery rather than flowers. Concentrate on achieving a close resemblance of nature in the wild with simplicity as the key.

Terraced Rock Gardens

are ideal for sloping sites, but also possible for even ground. Start with incorporating gravel and follow with a topsoil layer over the whole area. The rocks should be chosen for size and height to hold the next ‘level’ of soil after being set in the previous ‘level’. Place the first two rocks, one-third deep, with adequate spacing and fill with topsoil (the first rock could be smaller with just enough height to hold the soil). Fill the new section behind the second stone with topsoil and set the third rock into this raised level etc. When finished, fill and firm the soil down behind each rock.

Mound Rock Gardens

consist of irregularly spaced stones and planting pockets, reachable from all sides. It is done on the same principle as terraced rock gardens, but with the highest part in the center. Start by creating the base first and working up towards planting pockets on the top. Set the rocks to at least one-third deep for stability and fill and firm soil down behind the rocks. A little topsoil and shade provided by larger stones are beneficial and also ensure adequate space and depth for rooting.

Plants growing in nature with similar climatic and landscape conditions are ideal for rock gardens and need minimum tending. Provide topsoil, mulching, and small annual applications of general fertilizer. Keep weeds down and trim certain plants after flowering. These, often alpine, plants are usually drought- and frost tolerant and propagated from seed and offsets.

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