Going Japanese! The Primary Design Elements of a Japanese Garden

Japanese garden

If you’re looking to create a tranquil and modest outdoor space, then a Japanese garden is perfect for you. This type of garden combines stones, plants, and water to replicate the beauty of nature, but also yo instill a sense of peace and calm as part of your outdoor landscape design.

When it comes to plants, The Spruce says that a Japanese-styled garden uses plants carefully and sparingly. Doing so will ensure that you create a garden that embodies the Zen-like structure of Japanese gardens. Here are a few essential design elements that you need to have in your Japanese garden.

Hidden vignettes

Better Homes & Gardens says that one of the critical elements in any Japanese gardens is vignettes that aren’t visible to the naked eye. You need to create mystery in your yard by setting up a winding path that can lead your eye to a stone pagoda while you continue to explore.


A typical Japanese garden often relies on subtleties, especially when it comes to color and texture. You can add conifers to give your garden the right shade of green that will complement the rest of its parts. It will also be a great feature, especially if you’ll be designing it to form a pagoda.


Moss is excellent groundcover, especially if you have moist and shady areas. But since it can get easily destroyed when placed in areas with high foot traffic, you need to add stone steppers to your path so that your moss installation won’t get trampled. If you want the stone steppers to look natural, hiring a landscape designer in Spokane, Washington is an excellent option.


Your Japanese garden wouldn’t be complete without a pagoda. You can incorporate it in the roofline of your teahouse or even on your gate entries. But if you don’t have enough space or budget for it, then a stone lantern shaped like a pagoda would do.

Textural contrast

Backyard gardenA Japanese garden is a blend of bold textures and color contrast. So, you need to learn how to create a seamless mixture of greens and Hakone grass. Doing so will help soften the look of your plant bed.

Zigzag pathway

Japanese believe that a zigzag bridge helps people protect themselves from evil spirits whenever they’re in the garden. So, having a curved bridge isn’t only an extra feature. It’s also a way of respecting their tradition, too.

A small pool

A Zen garden revolves almost always includes a reflecting pool. So, you need to set up one that has Japanese grass and a bamboo fountain. You can also add moss-covered rocks to give it an Asian look.

These are only a few of the things that you can add to your Japanese-inspired garden. There are other factors that you can also add to it to give it more spice. But if you want to ensure that it sticks with the design principles, then it’s best to work with a landscape designer. Provide them with your ideas so that they can incorporate them into the design.

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