The Art of Japanese Landscape Design

Japanese landscape design reflects the pure beauty of nature. This carefully planned Asian garden style is appealing to many homeowners because of its ease of maintenance and the simple tranquility it offers. For many, Japanese gardening is as much a hobby as it is a landscaping style.

Japanese landscape design

Japanese landscape design plans create an appreciation for simplicity and nature resulting in gardens of simple peaceful elegance.

Japanese gardens strive to create miniature replicas of nature itself. This practice is a highly regarded form of art in Japan. From interactive bonsai gardens to amazing all-natural scenery, there are a number of different ways to integrate an oriental influence into the outdoors.

Types of Japanese Gardens

• Tea gardens are one of the most popular types of Japanese landscape designs and are ideal for small spaces. These inspirational gardens combine informal and formal styles, beginning with a charming outer garden that brings guests through the gate to an inner garden surrounding the ceremonious tea hut.

Japanese landscape design

• Pond and island style gardens showcase the delicacy of nature, blending into the overall landscape visible in the distance. This oriental style works well within larger properties and is centered around a naturally shaped pond that typically features a footpath and rustic bridges.

• Japanese stroll gardensare popular designs for expansive yards as well, often blending several Japanese garden types into the space. Rambling pathways meander throughout these gardens, allowing guests to admire the remarkable, small-scale replicas of nature.

• Courtyard gardens are created to provide a scenic view of nature from within your home. This traditional Asian style is quite simple and requires very little space.

• Zen gardens are another example of traditional Japanese landscape design and are also designed to be viewed rather than used. Highly symbolic, Zen gardens are primarily compromised of a variety of rocks and raked gravel to represent water and islands and may include a small selection of trees and shrubs.

Elements of a Japanese Garden

Although there are many different types of Japanese gardens, the elements within each style are very similar. Water is represented in every Asian garden and may be a natural pond, a trickling stream, an exotic koi pond, or can be symbolized by fine sand, smooth pebbles, or gravel. Fountains are not seen in Japanese landscape designs but natural water features are abundant.

Japanese landscape design

Rocks, stones, and boulders are a common part of most oriental gardens as well, often representing land, islands, or mountains.

Stones are typically part of a Zen garden, can be used to construct foot paths ands walls, and may be used to create simple waterfalls.

Elegant stone lanterns are often placed near water features, representing the opposite energies of yin and yang.

Most Japanese style gardens also feature simple fences with inviting gates. Fences may create seclusion and privacy or may just serve as an intriguing border. Whatever the purpose, many oriental gardens use fences and walls in interesting ways, often with pathways and simple foot bridges curving throughout the garden.

Japanese Garden Plants

Plants are a symbolic part of Japanese gardens but are not the most prominent feature of the outdoor space. Subtle colors and pastel hues are common, blending with the serene atmosphere of the oriental style.

Plants typically found within a Japanese garden include:

  • The delicate Japanese maple that changes with the seasons and represents the continuous changes in life.
  • The hardy black pine, symbolizing stability with its evergreen leaves.
  • Low maintenance flowers that provide seasonal color, including azaleas, mums, and peonies.



  • Bamboo is usually abundant and may serve as a privacy barrier in various areas of the garden.
  • Pines and other trees, like the magnolia and the cherry tree, are also common in Japanese landscape designs.
  • Carefully trained bonsai plants that capture the beauty of nature on a smaller scale.

From reflective Zen gardens to tranquil and relaxing stroll gardens, this Japanese garden style is one of the most impressive, yet simple, types of oriental outdoor design.

Although this is a very minimalist design, this style requires precise planning for a harmonious garden that blends with the home.

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