Tuesday, January 18, 2022

How to make your garden more zen, as inspired by Japanese gardens

After the last two years, many people have a much greater appreciation for their outdoor space. You can step outside in the morning and drink your coffee in the fresh air. Your garden should make you feel calm and connected with nature. If you did some gardening yourself, you can feel an even greater sense of joy from all your hard work.

Japanese landscaping has been around for centuries. These gardens are all about simplicity and balance. Here are a few ways you can incorporate Japanese landscaping into your garden.

Rocks and gravel

Rocks and gravel represent the desire for eternity and enduring the natural elements. Use larger rocks as sculptural elements and finer gravel in a raked pattern. As the sun rises and sets, it will highlight the texture of the raked gravel. Raking the gravel can also be quite a meditative process that helps to improve your concentration. You could use smooth pebbles, pea gravel or finely crushed rocks.


Japanese gardens often have small pathways winding through the landscape. There are numerous different pathways to choose from – such as stepping stones, crushed gravel or pavers. Stepping stones can provide a magical quality to your Japanese-inspired garden, especially when paired with moss and wildflowers.


Next up, you need to find some plants to fill your garden with soft green colours. Try to pick out low maintenance plants that don’t require too much work or use of any elaborate landscaping tools. After all, your zen garden should inspire relaxation – not specialised maintenance on each plant.

Japanese maple trees are one of the most recognisable parts of the signature style. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and colours. However, these trees are slow-growing, and it can take years for a small tree to grow significantly.

Moss is often used around rocks and stones. Other plants, like flowering quince, ornamental cherry trees, evergreens, rhododendrons and spring blossoms, are also well-loved in Japan.

Garden décor

Your garden needs a few finishing touches to capture the spirituality of zen gardens. You could incorporate a few symbols of peace and harmony into the paving stones around the outdoor space. Or, you could have a statue of a Japanese cultural symbol, like a dragon or pagodas. A few authentic touches will bring your garden together.

Alternatively, you could go for a water feature in the middle of your garden for an extra-special touch. Build a man-made pond with a water feature in the centre. Surround the feature by water lilies and small bridges across the little streams. Each element should flow together naturally and blend into the landscape.

Make your garden the ultimate relaxation space with a few Japanese-inspired touches.

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