25 Modern Japanese Garden Ideas for Small Backyard

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Japanese Garden Ideas

When it comes to Japanese garden ideas, you will find lots of inspirations online. But if you want to keep up with the trend, you should opt for modern designs. They are a true work of art and will make your home stand out even with a small backyard. Aside from the backyard, you can have the garden at the front yard or inside your home. If you need some inspiration, here are some modern Japanese garden ideas for a small backyard.

What is a Japanese Garden?

Japanese gardens are traditional gardens that feature Japanese philosophical ideas and aesthetics. The Japanese garden design ideas usually consist of stones, ponds, hills, bamboo, and islands that mimic small natural scenery.

During ancient times in Japan, stones have played a major role in Japanese culture. It is for this reason why it’s common to see stones in Japanese gardens, along with gravel and sand. Aside from stones, a pond is also a common element in most Japanese gardens. It represents the mythical lakes and seas in the Japanese culture. The pond also provides a habitat for colorful koi or carps.

Benefits of Japanese Gardens

Coming up with a Japanese garden in your backyard is not easy. It requires plenty of time and effort. But having this garden in your home is totally worth it since it comes with many benefits. Here are some of them:

1. Improves Overall Aesthetics

The Japanese gardens are known for their striking simplicity. They can enhance the beauty of your backyard no matter how small it is. Since the garden can improve the overall aesthetics of your home, it can also increase your home’s market value. So if you decide to sell your home in the future, you will earn back the money you have spent on making the garden.

2. Promotes Relaxation and Stress-relief

When it comes to Japanese garden ideas for small spaces, it’s common to see sand and stones. These elements can provide a calming, meditative, and soothing effect. A tropical Japanese garden has small terrariums and subtle greenery that brings relaxing energy into any space. Furthermore, the presence of a Buddha statue in the garden contributes to the overall peace and serenity in your backyard.

3. Increase Discipline, Focus, and Concentration

Having a Japanese garden in your home is a great reminder that you need to be focused and dedicated in life. You will be motivated to do your best in everything that you do. The focus and concentration that the garden cultivates can enhance various areas of your life and improve your quality of living.

25 Japanese Garden Design Ideas

1. Minimalist Zen Garden

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Pinterest

Japanese gardens are known for their minimalist appeal. This minimalist Zen garden perfectly embodies what a Japanese garden should be like. It also has stones and sand, which are the most common elements found in a Japanese garden.

2. Japanese Backyard Garden

Japanese Garden

Image Credit: Pinterest

Adding a deck in your Japanese backyard garden is a good idea. Aside from enhancing the aesthetic value of your home, it also allows you to host parties. You can place an outdoor grill or a portable bar and invite some friends over!

3. Cozy Seating Area

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Windows Unity

If you want to install a cozy seating area in your backyard garden, this is a great inspiration to follow. Bamboo trees line the wall that’s behind the cushioned seating. These trees are among the most common elements in a Japanese garden.

4. Zen Garden with Pond

Japanese Garden Pond Ideas

Image Credit: Pinterest

A pond in your Japanese garden symbolizes calmness, renewal, and peace. Not only that, but the clear water can also help to keep the air in your backyard fresh throughout the summer. Don’t forget to add colorful Koi fishes to bring a flash of color to the shallow water.

5. Rock Garden

Japanese Rock Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Dexorate

The rock is a perfect representation of a Japanese garden. When it comes to Japanese rock garden ideas, this design is a great inspiration to follow. It’s filled with sand and stones and has a pond and a few Japanese garden plants.

6. Japanese Garden with Small Bridge

Low Maintenance Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Pinterest

Bridges are a common sight in a Japanese garden. This small bridge offers a welcoming feature that will lead you to a more peaceful area in the garden.

7. Japanese Rockscape

Japanese Rock Garden Ideas

Image Credit: My Landscapes

Having large rocks as edging is a great idea for your Japanese garden. The floating deck also adds aesthetic value to this Japanese rockscape design.

8. Minimalist Bamboo Garden

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Pinterest

This backyard garden has all the elements of a typical Japanese garden. Bamboos were used as a fence and a buddha statue was added to bring peace and serenity to the place.

9. Garden Lights

Japanese Gardens

Image Credit: Pinterest

When it comes to adding lights to your Japanese garden, this is a great idea to try. The garden lights are scattered all throughout, including in the water, which makes the garden to stand out in the middle of the night.

10. Japanese Water Feature

Japanese Garden Design Ideas

Image Credit: Pinterest

A water feature in a Japanese garden symbolizes renewal and calmness. There are plenty of water elements that you can incorporate into your Japanese garden and this water faucet is one of them. The water that comes out of the faucet adds a soothing trickle to the environment.

11. Red Bridge and Pond

Japanese Garden Design

Image Credit: Home Designing

Red plays a significant role in Japanese culture. It also helps to emphasize a feature in a garden, such as this red bridge, which gives contrast to the green plants and trees in the surrounding. The red bridge is also a great welcoming feature.

12. Bermuda Grass

Japanese Garden Edging Ideas

Image Credit: 7desainminimalis

Although moss is usually preferred when it comes to a ground cover for a Japanese garden, it’s also possible to use a Bermuda grass as a substitute. The rock seating in the middle makes this Japanese garden look even more inviting.

13. Koi Pond

Japanese Garden Pond Ideas

Image Credit: Pinterest

The Kois are indispensable inhabitants in a pond of any Japanese garden. Aside from giving a flash of color to the water, it also plays a significant role in Japanese culture. These fishes can live up to 50 years, which is why they symbolize perseverance and strength.

14. Meditation Garden

Japanese Garden Design Ideas

Image Credit: Pinterest

A Buddha statue is a common feature in Japanese gardens that are used mostly for meditation. In this minimalist garden, the statue sits beside bamboo trees, creating a relaxing atmosphere that’s perfect for meditation.

15. Hanging Chair

Japanese Garden Design Ideas

Image Credit: Interiorzine

Make your Japanese garden stand out by installing beautiful decorative furniture, such as this outdoor hanging chair. The chair complements well with the minimalist design of the garden while offering a place for you to relax and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.

16. Zen Garden with Stone Path

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Home Depot

A stone path leads to this beautiful zen garden in the backyard. Aside from the sand and stones, this garden also features a Japanese lantern and a water feature made of bamboo, which is a perfect representation of a traditional Japanese garden.

17. Red Archway

Japanese Garden Design Ideas

Image Credit: Daviddomoney

This red archway is a popular feature in various Japanese gardens. It’s known locally as the Torii Gate, a traditional Japanese gate that’s usually found at the entrance of shrines. The gate symbolizes a transition from a mundane environment then towards a sacred place.

18. Colorful Hedges

Japanese Garden Design Ideas

Image Credit: Freshome

You don’t need to spend a lot of money for your Japanese garden. For Japanese garden ideas on a budget, consider growing different hedges and plants of different colors. Don’t forget to add other Japanese elements, such as stones and lanterns.

19. Small Backyard

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Pinterest

Having a small backyard should not stop you from creating your own Japanese garden. This small backyard garden is a great inspiration for Japanese garden ideas for small backyard. It’s easy to make and won’t blow your budget.

20. Japanese Lantern

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: tilen.space

The Japanese lantern is another important element in a Japanese garden. With the advent of tea ceremony in Japan, the lantern has become a significant element in various settings, including the garden. These lanterns are usually sculpted in stone, which contrasts the natural components of the garden.

21. Bamboo Walls

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Home Depot

One of the best Japanese garden fencing ideas to try is the use of bamboo. Installing them is easy and you can simply attach them directly into an existing wall in your backyard.

22. Small and Compact

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Decoist

For backyards that are small and compact, this Japanese garden is worth checking out. It features a Japanese lantern made of rock with a few Japanese garden plants.

23. Rock Waterfall

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Gardenista

A water element is an important component of any Japanese garden. Aside from having a pond, you can have a waterfall added to your garden as well, just like what’s shown above. The water cascades beautifully and accumulates into the pond, and gives off a relaxing ambiance.

24. By the Wall

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Pinterest

If you don’t have enough space in your backyard to create a full-fledged Japanese garden, you can simply install Japanese features into your wall, such as this inspiration above. The water flowing from the wall adds a soothing element to the environment.

25. Floating Deck

Japanese Garden Ideas

Image Credit: Architecture Art Designs

Building a floating deck over a koi pond is a great idea to follow for your Japanese garden design. Contrary to what many people thought, a deck does not cost a lot of money to build. In fact, this is highly recommended to those who are looking for Japanese garden ideas on a budget.

Japanese Garden FAQs

Q1: What Plants do you put in a Japanese Garden?

A1: There are numerous options of Japanese garden plants to grow in your Japanese garden. Japan has a mountainous topography, which means that a wide variety of plants can thrive in the country. But the most common plants you’ll find in a Japanese garden are bamboo, cherry trees, hydrangeas, lotus, wisteria, and azaleas.

Q2: How do you Arrange Rocks in a Japanese Garden?

A2: When it comes to Japanese rock garden ideas, it’s a good idea to use stones in different sizes and shapes. The rocks must be set deeply into the sand or gravel. They must be arranged according to their shapes and sizes. Usually, the rocks are twinned in pairs and by contrast. For instance, a male rock should sit beside a female rock. Building a Japanese rock garden will require a bit of a mystery. Thus, the rocks must be creatively hidden. The garden should imitate natural landscapes that include small mountains, rivers, etc.

Q3: What are the Elements of a Japanese Garden?

A3: When building Japanese gardens, there are certain elements that you need to incorporate into its design. Stones are the most significant element of a Japanese garden, along with sand and gravel. The garden must also have some water elements, either a pond, waterfall, or something else. Other popular elements of a Japanese garden are the Japanese lantern, bridges, koi or carp, and Japanese garden plants.

Q4: What are the Best Groundcovers for Japanese Gardens?

A4: Moss is considered the best ground cover for Japanese gardens. It must be allowed to freely grow wherever it pleases, from rocks to trees. Other alternatives to moss are Bermuda grass, Mondo grass, Heath Pearlwort or Irish Moss, Zoysia grass, and Hairy Frogfruit.

Final Thoughts

Japanese gardens are known for their pristine and quiet beauty. They exude peace and serenity and promotes a relaxing and stress-free environment. If you are blessed with a green thumb, you can refer to the Japanese garden ideas above and build your own garden in the backyard. As you can see, there are several different types of Japanese gardens out there and they can all help to enhance the aesthetic value of your home. Regardless of the design that you will go for, make sure you include some of the most important elements, such as the pond, rocks, Japanese lanterns, and more.


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