3 Key Concepts to incorporate in Designing a Japanese Garden

A Japanese garden is a great place to escape the hectic, modern lifestyle.
A Japanese garden is a great place to escape the hectic, modern lifestyle.

Are you thinking of giving your garden an overhaul? Or maybe your garden could just do with a bit of a spruce up? Have you thought about a Japanese style garden?

A Japanese garden is a great place to escape your hectic, modern lifestyle. Here you can retreat and recharge your batteries. Don’t worry if you have a busy schedule as these gardens do not require constant upkeep.

Japanese gardens create miniature idealised landscapes, often in a highly abstract and stylised way. These gardens are all about balance, space and nature. The design should fit your garden, rather than trying to make your garden fit a rigid design.

Japanese Acers are synonymous with Japanese Garden Design
Japanese Acers are synonymous with Japanese Garden Design

Whether you have a small or large area to work with, it is fairly simple to create your very own Zen-filled oasis. With a little pre-planning, you can easily work in the three key concepts for a Japanese inspired garden…

Balance
Balance and the elements are at the very core of a Japanese garden theme. Where possible do try to work in water into your garden design; a small pond with rocks or even a miniature bridge can really add character and emphasise your theme.

Japanese Cloud Trees (originating from the Japanese artful practice of Niwaki (sculpting trees).
Japanese Cloud Trees (originating from the Japanese artful practice of Niwaki (sculpting trees).

Japanese Cloud Trees are synonymous with Japan and its heritage. Japan is well-known for its artful practice of Niwaki (sculpting trees). These plants make a statement by providing a central focus for any Japanese garden and will help balance the varying elements of your garden theme. The Japanese Holly Cloud Trees, if purchased as a specimen tree (upwards of 20 years old) are very easy to look after, only requiring an occasional trim, once or twice per year.

Shade
Shade and height is very important to the oriental garden. There is nothing quite as beautiful as sun-dappled plants and pathways beneath taller trees.

Bamboo is not only an essential building material in Asia; it is one of the key materials used in Asian gardens. Bamboo is often used to form a hedge which is not too dense, with elegant shaped foliage making it easy for light to spill through. As the wind blows through the Bamboo leaves, calm rustling sounds are made, providing a tranquil soundtrack for your garden.

Japanese Acers, also known as the Japanese Maple, are a family of deciduous ornamental trees, which are grown for their stunning foliage and delicate forms. They make elegant focal points in a garden and are breathtakingly beautiful when seen in their full autumnal glory. At Paramount Plants, Japanese Acers are a speciality and with a wide range of Acer trees in stock you are guaranteed to find the right variety and size for your garden.

Colour
Whilst the Japanese are more reserved in their use of colour compared to traditional English gardens, this does not mean that you should avoid using any colourful plants or flowers. The key is to add splashes of colour to punctuate the soothing landscape that you are creating.

Designing a Japanese Garden -  key is to add splashes of colour to punctuate the soothing landscape
Designing a Japanese Garden – key is to add splashes of colour to punctuate the soothing landscape

Tree Peonies are royalty in the flower world. Few flowers can compete with the glamour of this opulent and flamboyant bloom. You might not think that such an extravagant plant could grow in the UK but in fact, Tree Peonies are surprisingly easy to grow, and very hardy. They originated in China over 2000 years ago but have since been bred to grow in Japan – in areas not dissimilar to our own UK climate.

Perfect for Japanese gardens, tree peonies are royalty in the flower world.
Perfect for Japanese gardens, tree peonies are royalty in the flower world.

Camellia Japonica are top sellers and it is easy to see why! With rich, evergreen glossy leaves and an abundance of flowers in spring, these flowering shrubs will add a fantastic splash of colour to your oriental backdrop. Camellias are available in a variety of colours so you can pick the hue that you would like to stand out amongst the foliage of your garden.

Magnolias are an ancient genus of trees, fossilised remains of Magnolias have been found that are more than 100 million years old – they were around even before bees appeared on our planet! Magnolias take between 8 -15 years from seed to flowering and they are renowned for their longevity. These simple, yet elegant oriental trees, will certainly add a touch of class and sophistication to any garden.

Designing Japanese Gardens -  Shade and height is very important to the oriental garden.
Designing Japanese Gardens – Shade and height is important to the oriental garden.

For further inspiration  on creating a Japanese Garden read Ramon’s Garden Story.

To view more Japanese plants and trees please click here.

Have you started creating your own Japanese garden? If you have any tips or recommendations to pass on to your fellow gardeners’ we would love to hear from you, please leave us a comment in the comment box below.