Create An Authentic Japanese Garden

Japanese gardens began as a space made for Japan’s ruling elite class. This is where they seek calmness and refuge from their country’s strife and war. Over time, these gardens have transformed into a way of life and become spaces of reflection and meditation.

Known for its minimalistic beauty and its sense of unmistakable calm, Japanese gardens continue to gain popularity in many parts of the world. Inspired by centuries of tradition, ceremony-rich culture and breathtaking natural landscape, authentic Japanese gardens may seem very difficult to conceptualize and re-create.

If you’re attempting to achieve this type of landscape at your home, it may be helpful to get some inspiration by understanding the design principles of balance and restraint.

Elements of a Japanese Garden

Depending on the size and space available at your house, you can opt to choose which element you would to like to have in your intended Japanese garden. We’ll cover several of those common elements here.


One of the first, most common features of an authentic Japanese garden is a teahouse. Think of an outdoor room where you can enjoy calm, peace and reflection while being surrounded by a naturalistic garden.

Water basins

Next, is the common use of water basins. Traditionally, guests wash themselves before entering a teahouse or home. Thus, wash basins are common outside a teahouse. A good wash basin is surrounded by carefully arranged stones. A simple water basin can easily give your Japanese garden a sense of calm.


Third, are walkways. You can incorporate a walkway by using stepping stones designed in such a way that it inspires a meditative walk. These stones will allow any visitor to slow their path through the garden. The spacing encourages visitors to savor every step of their journey.

Miniature mountains

Most Japanese gardens have miniature mountains made up of large stones or boulders. If using a boulder, give it a more natural look by partially burying it with plants are nestled around its base. You can also add some small shrubs near the stone that would match its size and scale.

An illusion of water

Finally, but most importantly, is the use of water. Creating an illusion of water in a Japanese garden can bring a soothing effect in any landscape design. You can easily achieve this by digging a shallow depression which will act like a dry steam bed. Next, fill it with dark gravel. Gather fieldstones and place them along the banks. Lastly, fill it in with tufts of sweet flag (Acorus gramineus) and ferns.

Japanese gardens commonly contain small trees, verdant moss and a composition of rocks. Popular plant types that you can add in your garden include Japanese maples, flowering cherries and gold ginkgo trees (Ginkgo biloba). These trees can give your Japanese garden a seasonal feel ranging from summer to winter thereby creating a stunning and soothing effect you can enjoy all year round.

After you have finished all of your hardscape and plantings, you can carefully accent your Japanese garden with inspired statues and bowls, such as these from our web site at