Design Tips For A Japanese Garden

Traditional Japanese gardens have inspired many gardeners in the UK and around the world. If you would like to take inspiration from Japan for your own garden, here are some design tips for a Japanese garden that you should bear in mind when creating or honing your design:


Japanese gardenTake Inspiration from Nature


One common design feature of many Japanese gardens is that they take inspiration from the natural landscapes of Japan – the mountains, the forests, the rivers, the cool lakes and the mossy glades. The trick to creating a delightful Japanese garden lies in balancing the shapes and motifs of nature with the more stylised elements of Japanese culture. Incorporate boulders and rocks to mimic the shapes of the mountains. Create moss-filled dips and cool, tranquil bodies of water. Layer planting to create dense, lush forest gardens. Then combine the elements with paths of natural materials like rock, gravel or bamboo.


Japanese garden pathAim For Balance Through Asymmetry


Unlike many formal Western gardens, which create formality and a sense of calm and balance through symmetrical designs, Japanese gardens often create a balance through asymmetry. A large boulder to one side, for example, might be balanced by a tree on the other side of a winding path.


Japanese bridge waterUse Water To Instill A Feeling of Calm


Water can be a delightful element in any garden and Japanese gardens often take full advantage of the calming, peaceful properties of both flowing and still water. Add a Japanese style water feature and a washing basin surrounded by stones to incorporate traditional Japanese elements in your garden design.


Japanese garden journeyTake Garden Visitors on a Journey


Philosophy and mindfulness play a key role in Japanese garden design. Rather than just being a space to sit in and enjoy, a Japanese garden is often designed to take garden visitors on a journey. Create pathways that can be explored slowly to encourage all those who travel it to take their time, smell the flowers and concentrate on living in the moment.


Japanese acersPlant Choices For Japanese Gardens


The choice of plants in your garden is, of course, one of its many defining elements. Choosing traditional Japanese plants can help to give your garden that Japanese feel. Think about incorporating shaped pines and other conifers, Japanese acers, and different mosses, to bring Japan to your garden.

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