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Tips for designing a Japanese garden

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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For Japanese Gardens, we allow a special place in our hearts: with its hand pruned plants, the perfectly placed stones, gravel circles, koi ponds and picturesque bridges, these gardens exude an atmospheric combination of eastern exoticism and  harmonious tranquillity, look natural and artistic at the same time. Today we have six specific design tips for you that will help you to give your garden an authentic Far Eastern touch.


The most important elements in Japanese gardens are the corresponding plants . Use of rhododendrons, well cut boxwood, bamboo bushes, cherry trees and azaleas to make for an authentic Japanese feel. Our tip: you shouldn't overdo the plants in a garden like this; as a wild thicket of different plants is not ideal for presentation purposes. 

Garden privacy

In the Japanese garden, peace and serenity are key focus elements. Those who live in the country and around have plenty of space, but that doesn't mean to say that you should go without privacy. A far eastern oasis can be protected from prying eyes and, in doing so, make it an even more peaceful place.  

Japanese garden colour schemes

In Japanese gardens, you will not find multi-coloured blooms of red, yellow, blue and pink flowers. Here you find simply subtle green set the tones, rock and the occasional influx of pink.   

Raked gravel

Raked gravel surfaces, with ornate wave patterns, are found in every true Japanese garden. The gravel layer should be for at least four inches thick. Did you know, gravel patterns supposedly symbolize the seas or lakes and rivers of Japan.

Display colour well

Individual plants like to draw attention to themselves with impressive stand-out ability against the previously mentioned backdrop of greens and tertiary. Especially in the spring, cherry blossom is a unique natural spectacle, rhododendrons, azaleas and water lilies too! Pure white and soft pink are the most popular colours for a Japanese garden.

Water features

Water features are essential in the Japanese garden. Whether as a koi pond, fountain, water feature, stream or overflowing basins—your imagination holds you limit here. If you have enough space, sets, accented with stepping stones or typical Japanese wooden bridges, will look great.

Looking for more garden design ideas?

Garden lighting tips

Garden furniture ideas

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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