How to Make a Japanese Garden in Your Backyard: Tips, Ideas, and Elements

Do you have some space in your backyard? Would you like to fill it up and make it pretty? Why not create a Japanese garden and give your backyard an aesthetic and natural makeover?


Japanese gardens are very traditional and have oriental styles. But the best thing about these gardens is that they rely on natural elements rather than artificial ornaments. The garden can have plants, dainty flower pots, and also old and worn-out materials that can be recycled and used for beautification of your backyard.

Elements of a Japanese Garden

Every Japanese garden has certain elements that add a particular type of charm. Following are some of the popular elements most people use in their Japanese garden:

  • Different types or moss and shrubs
  • Entrance to the garden with bamboo fences or a decorative but modest gate
  • Element of water in the form of a pond, pool, waterfall or a small fountain
  • Gravel, sand, quartz gravel, stone chips, rocks
  • Line of maple treed and flowering plants like azaleas and cherry blossoms
  • Stone lanterns and stone water bowls
  • Wooden or bamboo bridges, covered with layers of moss or loose soil. The bridges can be flat or arched and they can be at any elevation preferred.

Tips and Ideas for Creating a Japanese Garden

Keep these points in mind while creating a Japanese garden in your backyard:

Keep it minimalistic: Japanese gardens are usually very minimalistic and they do not require being crowded with too many plants and other accessories. Therefore, manage the space wisely, and keep it quite a bit empty. Keeping it sparse will give the impression of a larger area; so make sure that every element in the garden is properly placed.

Style the paths and fencing: You can create small paths running in between the plants, and line it with small pebbles and rocks. You can also use bamboo or cane to fashion them into Japanese style fencing around the garden, using some twine or rope.

Choose the right plants: Japanese gardens are not like the usual patchwork gardens that you would normally make around your home or in your backyard. They are very elegant and sophisticated and have a tranquil charm in them. Use plants like spring blossoms or even a bonsai if you can find some. You can also design a small waterfall or at least a fountain and decorate the sides with wisteria shrubs and bamboo plants.

Japanese gardens feature very specific types of plants, whether small bushes or tall trees. Some of them can be planted in your backyard. For example flowering plants like lilies, delicate Japanese woodland primroses, azaleas, and broad-leaved Japanese catmint.

Japanese gardens often have clusters or bright azaleas, and if you have a humus-rich soil in your backyard, then you can fill up a patch with lilies. Along with moss, you can plant black mondo grass with small foliage growing close to the ground and also variegated Japanese forest grass. Taller trees include maples and the Japanese black pine.

Include the natural surrounding: Authentic Japanese gardens often use the surrounding nature as a part of the garden itself. If you have a picturesque landscape, you can create a frame of Japanese maple trees around it to showcase the beauty as a part of your Japanese Garden.

Use different shades of green: Japanese temple gardens feature varying shades of green, and you can also include this in your gardening to-do list while creating a Japanese garden in your backyard. This can be easily achieved by placing stones and rocks, covered in moss and small bushes.

Add elements of vibe and serenity: Recreate the calm vibe and serenity of a Japanese garden with stone lanterns, usually made of granite, and Zen landscaping, which involve dry elements like gravel, pebbles and rocks.

A thoughtfully-created Japanese garden will not only add to the beauty to your backyard but will also bring an element of peace in your life.