Japanese garden

A Japanese garden is characterized by lots of greenery, beautiful traditional elements, and above all radiates a lot of zen. Do you also want a garden where you can completely relax? View the ideas, tips and inspiration photos below for decorating a Japanese garden!

Many people are drawn to the minimalist beauty and unmistakable sense of tranquility in Japanese gardens. Drawing on centuries of tradition, beautiful natural scenery and a culture rich in ceremony, authentic Japanese gardens can be very difficult to recreate outside of culture. Instead, seek inspiration from the design principles of balance and restraint as well as some of the traditional elements of Japanese gardens.

Natural elements

Like a Japanese brush painting, the essence of a Japanese garden design is captured in a few brush strokes. A Japanese garden mimics the natural world in a stylized way. The inspiration for plant choices, color and shape of the country’s native forests, lush riverbeds and towering mountains. Dark stones, bright and deep greens and earthy browns and sand tones are the most common colors. And many gardens also have beautiful modest reds or other vibrant hues. Traditional Japanese gardens, further imitating the natural landscape, often include a subtle change in topography, such as hills and valleys.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration

Balance due to asymmetry

Most Japanese gardens use natural building materials such as large stepping stones, bamboo, hardwood, gravel and sand. Contemporary landscapes can combine the traditional materials with more modern materials such as concrete and concrete granules.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration

Paths, courtyards, planting beds and other garden elements have been created to promote balance in the landscape. Unlike classical European gardens that prefer symmetry, Japanese gardens often achieve balance through asymmetry. For example, if a large rock is placed on one side of a path, a tree is often placed on the other side to promote balance in shape.

Garden elements

As indicated earlier, you will often find a number of standard traditional elements in a Japanese garden. Do you want to furnish a real Japanese garden? Then a number of the elements below should definitely not be missing.


Traditionally, a Japanese tea house surrounded by a natural garden is a sacred space for holding a tea ceremony. While the ceremony itself may not be part of your tradition, most of us can relate to the appeal of an outdoor room that is ideal if you’re looking for peace, tranquility, and reflection.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration


The sink is an important element in a Japanese tea house. They are traditionally used by guests to clean themselves before entering the tea house. A good washbasin is surrounded by a careful arrangement of stones that represent different elements. Sinks with or without the traditional stone can be beautiful in their own right and act as a tranquil water feature in the garden. Adding a simple water basin to your garden is also an easy way to create a sense of calm.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration


Speaking of water, water is a sacred part of a traditional Japanese garden anyway. The best thing is, of course, a beautiful garden pond. This not only fits perfectly in a Japanese garden, it also gives your garden the perfect natural atmosphere. In addition, it also offers the possibility to include new plants, such as water lilies. Koi carp are a super fun idea. And if you have a large yard, and you have the option of taking a large pond, it is also a great idea to create a small bridge above the pond that you can walk across.

Do you have a small garden that cannot accommodate a pond? A fountain or other water feature are very nice alternatives, with which you can create the same effect.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration


Japanese gardens often have one or more large stones or boulders that represent mountains in the landscape and anchor the design. Large rocks look more natural, which are actually miniature mountains. Partly bury them underground, surrounded by small plants or small shrubs. This is a way of showing the relationship between the mountain and the green.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration


Many Japanese gardens have walkways that meander through the space, meandering stream beds – symbolic or real – and designed to accompany a visitor on a meditative walk. To achieve the same effect on a smaller scale, you can create a gravel walkway, for example. You then place a number of large stepping stones that guide you from side one to side two. The stones will slow your path through the garden and encourage you to be present during the journey.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration

Rock gardens or Zen gardens

Originally designed as meditation gardens, arid landscapes, consisting of a composition of rocks, moss and small trees, are also common elements in a Japanese garden. The pale sand or fine gravel that covers the ground represents water and is often raked into ripples. Even on a small scale in a backyard, these stylized landscapes can be very peaceful to look at.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration

Plant species

Plants are an important part of a Japanese garden. However, it is not necessary to include a wide variety of plants in the garden. Sticking to two or three essential mossy or creeping plants is not only an easy way to maintain the garden, but also keep the lines simple. Below we have named a number of beautiful plant species, which you often find in a Japanese garden.

Japanese maples

The graceful branch shapes and delicate leaves of Acer palmatum have long been cherished by Japanese gardeners. The trees in your garden can reach a height of four to six meters. Pruning them nicely will keep them perfect, making wonderful additions to smaller backyards or indoor gardens. Choose from varieties with leaf colors from chartreuse to plum.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration


Areas covered with green moss and dotted with ferns and stones are another element of traditional Japanese gardens. Some moss gardens in Japan have been grown for hundreds of years. Moss only thrives in constantly moist, temperate conditions with not too much sun, but also not in deep shade. An alternative is the Soleirolia soleirolii, also known as ‘Bedroom Happiness’.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration

Spring gardens

Traditionally associated with birth and renewal, spring is especially revered in Japanese gardens. Most include plants such as flowering cherries, chosen for their spring blossoms, as well as plants with bright, vibrant green leaves that feel fresh and spring-like for much of their growing season.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration

Autumn colours

Japanese gardens also embrace seasonal changes from summer to winter, including trees and shrubs that put on a fall show. To get the look, choose a beautiful Japanese maple, such as Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’, which turns crimson in fall, or plant a grove of gorgeous golden ginkgo trees (Ginkgo biloba). Tip : Select a male ginkgo from the nursery to avoid having to clean up the falling fruit.

Japanese garden Garden inspiration

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Japanese garden Garden inspiration

Japanese garden Garden inspiration


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