The Japanese garden style is presently a favorite among garden enthusiasts. This is due to the fact that this garden design offers tranquility and balance to whoever is admiring the view. With its Eastern charm, a Japanese garden combines particular elements, traditions, and concepts to its distinctive style. Additionally, in contrast to a Western garden, a Japanese garden is constructed to be enjoyed in all types of seasons. Visitors delight in what the gardens offer whether its summer, winter, or fall.
What is a Japanese Garden?
Important to realize when it comes to Japanese Garden is that less is more in this kind of gardening style. Others look at it as empty, however, for the Japanese; space is an element which allows defining the concepts it encloses. Furthermore, components found in the garden embody natural landscapes. Notably, huge rocks are considered mountains and ponds are viewed as oceans. With this in mind, lines and angles should not feel fabricated. It must be natural and rounded to create asymmetry. Besides that, you will notice that Japanese gardens are ordinarily enclosed. It is rare to see these gardens open to the world. Customarily, gardens like these are surrounded by walls to ensure that outside factors will not disturb its balance.
Generally speaking, there are various kinds of Japanese gardens, such as Tea Gardens, Zen or Dry Rock Gardens, Stroll Gardens, etc. Though natural asymmetric and dry rock gardens are the best choice for your home and backyard, what matters is your ingenuity and innovativeness in combining various design ideas.
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15 Japanese Garden Design Ideas
If you are looking into designing your own Japanese garden, here are a few concepts which you can adapt to your own space. Remember you can blend garden styles in coming up with your personal Japanese garden.
1. Naturally asymmetric Japanese Garden
Water features like ponds are prevalent in Japanese gardens. Oftentimes, it has Koi fish in it which increases texture and life to space. Shown below is a naturally asymmetric Japanese garden.
2. Japanese Garden with an arched bridge
Symbolic to Japanese gardens are bridges with arch. It presents a man-made element to the design but still keeping the lines smooth and natural. Arched bridges are commonly made of wood, stained colored, or portrayed darker with red accents.
3. Wabi Sabi Japanese Garden
Prominent to the Japanese garden style is the element of “Wabi” and “Sabi”. Wabi translates to solitary. On the other hand, Sabi means patina. In adopting this element to your garden, it entails a standout piece highlighting your space. Significantly it can be a tree, a Japanese lantern, or an exceptionally valuable rock. All of these components aged or new represent the spirit of the garden and exemplifies a balanced Wabi Sabi garden.
4. Stone lanterns and bamboo in a Japanese Garden
As has been noted, stone lanterns and bamboos are eminent in the Japanese influence. You can see it here in this balanced Japanese garden.
5. Japanese Garden showcasing waterfalls
Another pervasive aspect of the Japanese style is the water feature. A waterfall in a Japanese garden provides movement and acoustics in the space which is pivotal to this style. It is immensely intrinsic that is why you will greatly see waterfalls and bamboo fountains featured in this type of garden.
6. Simple bamboo fountain in a Japanese Garden
Beside bamboo plants, adding bamboo fountains are standard to a Japanese garden. It offers a feeling of not only motion but also serenity in your space. Water pouring from the fountain supports the natural flow of the area.
7. Japanese Stroll Garden
In the meantime, Stroll gardens are likewise common with Japanese designs. It typically consists of a stone path, gravel beds, and rope fences. Visitors will relish their time savoring the garden while enjoying its ecological and natural feel.
8. Small house in a Japanese Garden
A small house or building is not unusual in a Japanese garden. As a matter of fact, these types of structures are ideal for meditating or appreciating nature. Others likewise celebrate tea parties in it.
9. Japanese Garden with moss covered stone
Moss offers a sense of old age in a Japanese garden. As mentioned earlier, the element of Sabi focuses on age and time. Introducing moss on your garden highly touches that aspect.
10. Japanese Garden in the middle of a body of water
Nonetheless, a Japanese garden is not necessarily landlocked. Here is an amazing dry rock garden located in the middle of a body of water. It combines several integral elements of the Japanese design which results in a captivating garden.
11. Japanese Garden outlined by massive rocks
You can likewise decide to create your dry rock garden separated from the rest of your space. Do this by outlining it with massive rocks which are symbolic in the Japanese culture. Rocks in principle are more substantial than trees.
12. Japanese Yin Yang Garden
When you think of Japanese influence, the Yin and Yang concept is always part of the list. Here is a Japanese garden showcasing the very same element.
13. Old stone lantern within a Japanese Garden
In constructing a Japanese garden, you can likewise bring into it a sizable old stone lantern. Again, this illustrates the Wabi/Sabi principles of the Japanese culture.
14. Japanese Garden with a stone bench
Since Japanese gardens are famous for providing a space for meditating and contemplating, why not add a bench? You can relax in this space while appreciating your swirling raked patterns. Furthermore, you can install outside garden lights to allow you to unwind at night.
15. Sea of stones in a Japanese Garden
To put things differently, instead of the little island of rocks which are widely common with Japanese gardens, you can opt for a solid enormous sea of stones. This type of garden is suitable for those with generous space and it still shows the asymmetry and balance concept. See how soothing this space is?
Japanese Tea Garden
In essence, Tea Gardens are blended with Japanese Gardens. You will observe that these kinds of gardens are commonly modest and functional. The Japanese Tea Garden is consists of an inner and outer garden. For the most part, the outer garden includes a low gate and a stone path leading to the entryway of the Teahouse where tea parties are being held. There is now countless Tea Garden in Japan nowadays; however, it is merged into a broader garden design.
Japanese Rock Garden
The Japanese Rock Garden is also known as a dry rock garden or landscape garden. However, it is distinguishable from the common rock garden since instead of being surrounded with plant life the Japanese rock garden includes minimal or no plants at all. Normally comprised of dry rock, gravel, sand, and huge standing rocks, this garden style is meant as a personal project which illustrates one’s reflections. Fundamentally, gravel or sand embodies water and sizable rocks signify islands.
Bonus: Famous Japanese Gardens
Anderson Japanese Gardens
Located in Rockford, Illinois USA, the Anderson Japanese Gardens opened in 1978. Founder John R. Anderson took inspiration from his travels to Japan and Portland Japanese Garden. This famous garden showcases pristine design, wonderful walkways, and an assortment of fish, minks, and ducks.
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
This famous Japanese Garden is situated in West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia USA. It boasts of breathtaking scenery, serene ponds, and a classic Japanese house. Moreover, it is known as part of the best three Japanese gardens in the United States. Visit and watch traditional shows and productions hosted in the house.
Portland Japanese Garden
A stunning Japanese Garden opened in 1967 in Portland, Oregon USA. This renowned garden is designed by Professor Takuma Tono. Pictures of its spectacular maple trees have gone viral all over the world. In visiting this garden, you will encounter a variety of plants, stroll paths, and pristine design.
Adachi Museum of Art
The Adachi Museum of Art in Yasugi, Japan boasts of modern Japanese art collection. However, aside from this, myriad of visitors flock to its remarkable lush garden encircling the museum. This popular site has frequently received accolades from gardening magazines as one of the best Japanese gardens.
This marvelous garden’s name alludes to the fact that it captures scenes from famed Japanese poems. Found in Tokyo, the Rikugien Japanese Garden features hills surrounding a large pond and intertwining trails. It is a surprisingly serene area in the busiest city in Japan.
Japanese Garden Plants
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For Japanese gardeners blessed with water features, the Lotus plant is a vital addition. Seeing a mature Lotus blooming is admirable. It has grown leaves which are three feet in diameter. Home gardeners also should not dismay because they can produce dwarf varieties of the plant in wood barrels or midsize ponds. In this case, gardeners must be careful that the roots do not freeze.
If plagued with a sodden area in your garden, you can opt to plant Japanese irises which thrive on moist all throughout the year. This plant is continually starving not only for fertilizer but also for water. Be that as it may, it will compensate you with flower stalks that are up to five feet tall. The only thing left for you to do is separate old clumps per three years.
Bamboos are a regular figure with Japanese gardens. It is because Bamboos are in fact paramount to the Japanese culture. For example, when harvesting Timber bamboos, it’s utilized at home for use such as chopsticks, fences, and fans. Remember when choosing bamboos to use opt for the clumping type instead of the ones that spread by runners. Those types are invasive and even prohibited in some regions. Like any other plants, Japanese bamboos prosper on a shade and frequent moisture; however, avoid watering beyond the normal limits.
On one hand, you will see these trumpet-shaped flowers in various hues of yellow, salmon, pink, red, white and violet. For centuries, Japanese gardeners cultivated Azaleas; however, at present, modern hybridizers have discovered reblooming azaleas. No need to wait for spring to adore this thriving shrub. Take note that these plants flourish in moisture, however, it will perish in damp winter soils.
Last in our list are Hosta plants. The naturalized types found all throughout Japan are reputable compared to the North American hybrids. Selecting this plant in various sizes, shade, shape, and appearance can build you a rich garden wholly comprised of Hostas. While irrigation is substantial in growing Hosta, however, keep in mind this Japanese plant is vulnerable to fungal disease and crown rot brought on by excessive wet conditions.
Final Thoughts on Japanese Gardens
To sum up, Japanese gardens are primarily organic and natural in design. Substantial in achieving this Japanese style garden is to include the principles and elements which are particular in its culture. Adding these aspects will ensure that you will attain that tranquility and balance renowned with this kind of garden. In either case, while the garden design ideas provided above will assist you in starting your garden project, however, it is still your ingenuity and innovativeness that will matter in creating your space.
Equally important in Japanese gardens is the balance. The elements you include in your garden should work well with the other components present in your garden. You will normally see stone lanterns, Japanese plants, or other Asian structure incorporated into the design but take note that these are strategically placed to keep the balance of the style. Additionally, in caring for the plants in your garden, ensure that it is considerably irrigated but not overwhelmingly that it will suffer from diseases or rot.
Again, the Japanese garden is prominent in providing a place for practitioners of the self-healing arts to meditate and contemplate. Thus, it is vital that the space they are in is serene and tranquil in nature so that it can help them fully concentrate.
From a simple penchant for yellow flowers as a child to becoming a full-time gardener, nature advocate, and garden designer, I am extremely happy to finally have a platform for me to successfully spread knowledge and expertise in the garden. After highschool graduation, I took many courses related to garden design to feed myself with more knowledge and expertise other than what I learned from my mom growing up. Soon as I finished courses, I gained more experience through internships and most especially, garden shows! I also tried to join as many garden design competitions locally. For any garden design inquiries, ping me!