Can You Build Your Own Japanese Garden At Home

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a garden with a small lake

Gardens are a mainstay in home improvement projects, and while they’re fairly straightforward to do, there’s plenty of ways to take the challenge up a notch and give yourself some fun doing them. From installing DIY sprinkler systems or dipping your toes into full-blown landscaping for the first time, anyone can get a kick out of heading to the backyard and planning a full-scale garden makeover.

So, today we’ve got you just the treat to quench that thirst for home improvement projects. We’ll be seeing if it’s possible to build your own Japanese garden at home and exactly what it takes to make it come to life. So, get your tools ready and be prepared to plan because this one’s going to take more than just elbow grease to finish.

What Defines A Japanese Garden?

Of course, before we run through the materials and budget, we need to understand the essence of the motif first and find out what defines a Japanese garden. Unlike your typical backyard, Japanese gardens showcase distinct features that you don’t usually see every day, and here’s some of the stuff you need to watch out for:

  • Harmonious Asymmetry: While a lot of modern houses and their respective gardens adhere to geometric designs and strict symmetry, Japanese gardens opt for an ebb and flow approach. Instead of hammering down the need for symmetry, they choose to create harmonious asymmetry in their designs and make the overall concept feature a natural flow.
  • Meticulous Maintenance: If you’re used to the idea of cleaning the backyard and maintaining the garden at least once a month, then you might be surprised at the level of meticulous maintenance necessary for a Japanese garden. The overall positioning and how the elements come together accumulate to form the style, so you can’t afford mediocrity. The standard should at least be on par with expert commercial cleaning services.

Key Design Elements You’ll Need

Now that we’ve settled on what makes Japanese gardens unique, what design elements should you feature in your design? Lucky for us, the key design elements follow fairly simple criteria, and while they’re definitely on the difficult side to attain, there’s no denying the satisfaction of building them.

#1 Japanese Plants & Flowers

Yes, we know how tempting it can be to grow out your blooming perennials, but if you want to stay relatively authentic to a Japanese style, please stick with Japanese plants and flowers. In doing so, the flowers and foliage will help reinforce the overall concept and will serve as your initial benchmark for everything to complement. We recommend evergreens that provide a consistent structure and also change according to the season, but you can go for anything that suits the color you’re trying to achieve.

#2 Water Features

We’ve all probably seen that movie entrance where the protagonists walk into a dojo, and the backsplash is an open door that reveals a Japanese zen garden for meditation. And, if there’s one highlight that the camera never forgets to pan over, it’s the beautiful water features that run throughout the garden, bringing life and movement. Realistically, you can be as expansive and extravagant as you want, but it can be difficult to plan and layout for beginners. So, start with small water features and work your way up from there.


#3 Symbolic Ornaments & Decoratives

If it’s not the water features capturing the gazes of onlookers, you can trust the symbolic ornaments & decoratives to make heads turn as they’re placed in focal points of attention in the Japanese garden. Traditionally, these symbolic ornaments serve a religious and spiritual purpose, but more modern decoratives can be seen today. We recommend sticking with stone lanterns as you can install lighting features while you’re at it and pagodas if you need a larger structure.

#4 Gravel And Stepping Stones

For carving pathways and controlling the flow of a Japanese garden, you’re looking at gravel and stepping stones as your best buddies. Apart from signifying where to walk and how the entire space comes together, you can also use them to build islands or create some sort of installation art. So, you don’t have to worry about having too much because there’s plenty of use for gravel and stepping stones in a Japanese garden.

#5 Bamboo Fencing

Last but not least, you might want to look into changing your paint colors for lighter wood tones because bamboo fencing is a staple in Japanese gardens that will never go away. From simple fences and gates tied together with elaborate bindings to the most intricate bamboo structures and privacy screens, there’s a lot you can do and find if you look hard enough. So, don’t limit yourself to just bamboo fencing if you’ve got an idea in mind.

The Blend Of Tranquility And Beauty

Overall, the goal is to achieve the blend of tranquility and beauty if you envision a Japanese garden in your backyard. And, while it will take quite an amount of work to complete, the finished product will be worth all the effort and sweat invested. ;


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