Tips and tricks for setting up a Japanese garden

A beautiful Japanese garden - De StudioSmart, shutterstock

The Japanese Garden is a miniature reproduction of a natural landscape made up of several elements. Vegetations, lanterns, water, stones are in the spotlight in this place full of spirituality. In addition to the types of plants to prefer, what accessories to develop? Here are the tips and tricks to adopt to create a zen space.

What is a Japanese garden?

In a Japanese garden, the key words are: authenticity and zenitude . This space is above all a place of tranquility and serenity conducive to relaxation and meditation. No wonder that natural stone, wood and water are among its essential elements. Another important point is the principle of odd numbers . Whether for rock layout, Japanese steps or planting, numbers 3, 5 or 7 are ubiquitous.

True art in its own right, the Zen garden must respect a certain balance . To get the job off the ground, it’s important to make a plan . This guide helps to determine the part of the garden to develop. It is also possible to play on contrasts with black and white pebbles.

Authentic atmosphere and zen of a Japanese garden - © The Chimonobambusa Trail - BG / RUSTICA

Authentic atmosphere and zen of a Japanese garden – © The Chimonobambusa Trail – BG / RUSTICA

What vegetation for a Japanese garden?

Plant species play a vital role in the composition of a Japanese garden.

  • Trees

The best is to choose trees reminiscent of Asia like the great massifs , ideal to hide a wall or a fence . In addition, easy-to-cut species help to visually harmonize the whole. Here is a non exhaustive list of the varieties to favor:

  • Japanese apricot tree

This small ornamental tree is recognizable by its pearly flowers. It symbolizes paradise on Earth.

  • The maple of Japan

Japanese maple is appreciated for its flamboyant red foliage. He embodies the time that passes.

  • The cherry tree of Japan

The blossoming cherry tree of Japan is a majestic rose.

  • Dwarf conifers

Dwarf conifers are prized for their varied size.

  • The plants

After the trees, ornamental flowers and plants are among the essentials of a Japanese garden. Traditionally, the diversity and number of species must be reduced. Nevertheless, the main varieties planted are camellia, bamboos , aquatic plants such as water lilies and lotus and perennials such as iris .

Stone walkway bordered by a hedge of bamboo and boxwood - © The Chimonobambusa Trail - BG / RUSTICA
Stone walkway bordered by a hedge of bamboo and boxwood – © The Chimonobambusa Trail – BG / RUSTICA

Japanese garden: furniture and decoration

As for the decoration, the Japanese culture favors simple and natural accessories .

The goal is to set up “Japanese” objects in a consistent way. Note that the presence of crossings, trails and water and rock is essential in this type of garden. Thus, the big pebbles, the rocks, the Japanese steps, the gravels, the wooden bridges as well as the fountain must imperatively be present. To emphasize the authenticity of this relaxing place, it is possible to build a small stream or a small pond. On the spiritual side, the Japanese garden must include Buddha statues.

Note that furniture dedicated to sitting or meditation is optional. As for the urn and the lantern, they bring the final touch to this oriental painting.

Round stone, in the center stands a Japanese lantern - © The Path of Chimonobambusa - BG / RUSTICA

Round stone, in the center stands a Japanese lantern – © The Path of Chimonobambusa – BG / RUSTICA

Japanese Garden: lighting

The lighting plays an important role in the development of a Japanese garden. To this end, we do not hesitate to accumulate light sources throughout the garden while favoring light and discreet accessories . Many options are possible: Japanese lanterns, recessed spots along a driveway in white pebbles or in a bridge, etc. Solar lights are appreciated for their full autonomy.

Planning a Japanese Garden: Tips

The installation of a Japanese garden does not allow any improvisation. It is important to take note of these tips before beginning the work.

  • The valley

In the first place, it is a question of making a drawing on paper demonstrating the outlines as well as the layout of the project. Depth and reliefs are also to be created. In the presence of non-hilly terrain, it is possible to resort to artificial elements, allowing to climb hills and valleys. Always in the spirit of a zen garden, it is important to define the grassed areas by pebbles, gravel or decorative bark. In terms of location, the shaded areas are the most indicated.

  • The symmetry

In contrast to traditional French gardens, the Japanese havens emphasize asymmetry , which is why the sides are made up mainly of trees and rocks.

  • The sobriety

Nippons appreciate simplicity and sobriety , values ​​materialized in the composition of their gardens. Thus, the accumulation of artifices is useless. Only one decorative element is enough. As for the lanterns or the bridge, the aspect foil or varnish is to be avoided. We will favor a decorative element raw or matte . Plants and rocks must also respect a certain harmony .

Statue against a black wall near a pond - © The Chimonobambusa Trail - BG / RUSTICA

Statue against a black wall near a pond – © The Chimonobambusa Trail – BG / RUSTICA

  • The spaces between the elements

As mentioned earlier, simplicity is a must in a Japanese garden. Therefore, it is useless to accumulate the plants that will give a clutter feel. The small massifs well arranged ensure a harmonious rendering.

  • Decorations or furniture made of natural materials

Asians living in communion with nature, garden furniture made of synthetic material are to be banned. It is the same for resin rocks. Despite their ephemeral nature, natural materials are preferred.

  • The place of water

Because of its purifying virtue , water is an indispensable element in a Japanese garden. Pond, pond or fountain, different facilities are possible. To remind waves, islands or boats, we can add gravel of different sizes or sand. The fountain or small waterfalls are appreciated for their soothing sound.

Koi carp in a pond. Bamboos yellow stems in the bottom - © The Path of Chimonobambusa - BG / RUSTICA

Koi carp in a pond. Bamboos yellow stems in the bottom – © The Path of Chimonobambusa – BG / RUSTICA