How to Design a Japanese Garden: Part 1

Part 1- teaches you the various components of Japanese Gardens.
Part 2- teaches you how to design Japanese Gardens using these components. Here:


“Everyone loves Japanese gardens! I’m going to show you how to design them!”

This first video will show you the various elements of a Japanese garden and part 2 will show you how to design using these elements.

First a few principals of Japanese garden designs. Japanese gardens are traditionally designed to be a natural place for rest and relaxation and are not driven by ego. They exercise restraint and modesty. This doesn’t mean be boring, be Modest. Also part of the reason Japanese gardens feel so different is that there is often no geometric order that we are so used to seeing in gardens.

So lets get started. Here are some really interesting and traditional elements of Japanese gardens. These are garden components designed to be idealised representations of the landscape of Japan.


Water is an extremely important part of Japanese Gardens. Water bodies were used to represent lakes, rivers, oceans and swamps. An important tip however for Japanese Gardens is to not show the entire water body. Have it disappearing around a corner or behind rocks.

A unique alternative to rocks however is the use of sand or granite aggregate to represent water. Often these are combed into shapes or patterns and are referred to as dry gardens.

Rock work

Waterbodies were often accompanied by large boulders or rocks representing the islands and mountains of Japan. Boulders can be clustered together or kept singular, like real islands, and they were often covered of partially covered in moss or vegetation. It is very important to bury the rocks two thirds deep to create the most natural looking rockwork.


Waterfalls were used regularly and often it was created in the valley between two rock mountains.


Hills were often created out of the left over soil from digging the pond. Traditionally 3 or 4 hills of different sizes were the best arrangement and a representation of Mt Fuji was considered to be most desirable.

Lets have a look at some of the features of Japanese gardens that aren’t idealised representations of the Japanese Landscape.”

For full transcript message me and I will get it to you ASAP! Thanks

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CowGirlZen Photography

Thank you and enjoy!

By Song River- CowGirlZen Photography on 2011-10-08 11:03:03