Japanese Gardening

by April Reinhardt
(last updated November 23, 2016)

Imagine meandering on a winding rock path, bordered by lush, low-lying succulent mosses. You pause and sit on a cool stone bench, your gaze following the length of a Katsura tree, from its gnarled roots to its small-leaved canopy. You continue with your walk and, to your delight, find a small pond around the next bend, nearly covered by a small bridge. As you stroll to the house at the center of this garden, you feel serene and refreshed, and happy to know that this is your garden—your Japanese garden.

If you've ever contemplated making your own Japanese garden, there are a few things to consider before you begin. Although there are different styles of Japanese gardens, many incorporate at least three of the following elements:

  • Rocks
  • Water
  • Plants
  • Stepping stones
  • A bridge
  • Lanterns
  • Benches of stone or bamboo
  • A gazebo-style structure such as a teahouse, pavilion, or pagoda

Most importantly, a Japanese garden has at its center a home from which the garden may be viewed. The purpose of a Japanese garden is to create balance and harmony, culminating in serenity. Rocks and stones are used to symbolize mountains and islands, water is a symbol of purity, a bridge represents a journey, and lanterns and other passive ornaments are used as visual interest. However, how you create your Japanese garden is entirely up to you. Incorporate plants and ornaments in your garden that have meaning and symbols important to you and your family, and then follow these simple principles:

  • Create unity by repeating designs, shapes, and patterns. Use natural items to feel closer to nature.
  • You find symmetry as well as asymmetry in nature, so incorporate both into your garden design to create a balance.
  • Keep things simple. Look around you and you will understand that, in nature, the more simple the tree, the more complex the bark. Use that same thought pattern when making your Japanese garden. Keep things simple, yet intricate, when building a rock garden. Use complex rock in a simple design.

The most important aspect of a Japanese garden is to make a place to think and reflect, and to leave feeling refreshed, and having had an almost spiritual experience for having visited the garden.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

What to Expect in a Massage

If performed incorrectly, a massage could hurt you. Investigate about massage before making an appointment with a ...

Discover More

Low Water Lawns

If you you're wasting water and time watering your lawn, consider replacing it with a low water lawn. By replacing your ...

Discover More

Insulating Your Plumbing

Even if you live in a mild climate and don't experience cold winters, you can insulate your plumbing and save energy and ...

Discover More
More Gardening Tips

Designing an English Garden

If you have ever seen a movie that was set in England, then chances are you have seen at least the idea of an English ...

Discover More

Creating a Beginner's Vegetable Garden

Start your vegetable garden by planning where you are going to grow and what you will grow in the garden. Prepare the ...

Discover More

Making Your Flower Garden the Right Size

When planning a flower garden, determine the size of your flower bed based upon other landscape elements including size, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)