How to Create a Japanese Garden in a Small Space

Japanese gardens are the epitome of peace and tranquillity because every element balances perfectly together, creating a calming environment that looks modern.

While many people believe that a Japanese garden is only suitable for large spaces, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Even small outdoor areas can incorporate Japanese elements – with some planning. So, if you’re looking for a way to create a beautiful and peaceful Japanese garden in a small space, you’ve come to the right place.

This blog post will discuss some tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your small garden.

Read on, and learn how to create a stunning Japanese garden right in your own home.

Why Choose A Japanese Garden Theme?

Japanese gardens are so popular in England, and if you’re a fan of contemporary design, you’ll love this type of design’s sophisticated yet understated appeal. But what makes them so unique?


Some people love cottage style gardens filled with colourful plants – but they’re not exactly ideal if you prefer to keep it simple. Japanese gardens essentially give you some breathing space while still creating a stunning aesthetic.

Low Maintenance

Another clear benefit of these gardens is that they pretty much take care of themselves. If you choose evergreen plants, you won’t have to worry about regular watering schedules.

Great Spaces For Families

If you have kids or pets, you’ll know that flowers never usually last long! Japanese gardens use hardy plants, and the pathways make them perfect for adults – and children – to enjoy.

The Three Types of Japanese Gardens

There are three types of Japanese gardens: the dry garden, the stroll garden, and the tea garden. Each type has its unique features and purposes.

A dry garden is a simple, meditative space with few plants and no water. It’s meant to be viewed from a distance and contains rocks and gravel representing mountains and rivers, while the sparse vegetation represents forests.

The stroll garden is for people to walk through and enjoy. It typically contains a variety of plants, trees, waterfalls, and ponds. Most people choose these gardens if relaxation is their priority.

Tea gardens are specifically designed for preparing and enjoying tea. Traditionally, they contain a tea house, where people can rest and enjoy the view and a variety of plants used in tea ceremonies.

While you obviously can’t incorporate all of these elements into a small garden, you can take inspiration from them and scale them down to fit your space.

So, now that you know the benefits of having a Japanese garden, it’s time to explore how you can add one to your small garden.

Swap A Pond For A Small Watering Hole

One of the most important elements in any Japanese garden is a water feature. However, if you’re short on space, you may not be able to fit in a traditional pond.

Luckily, there are other options! A small watering hole can create the same effect as a pond – and it takes up far less space.

If you’re not confident in your carpentry skills, don’t worry; there are plenty of great pre-made options available online.

Use Small Stones For Pathways

When creating a Japanese garden, using materials that reflect the natural landscape is essential. For example, stone and wood are excellent options because they’re so rustic – but other materials won’t fit well into the theme of your space.

While larger stones may be impractical for a small garden, plenty of smaller options are available, so use these stones to create pathways throughout your garden.

This adds visual interest, but it also helps to define different areas in your space.

Keep It Simple With Natural Materials

In a small garden, it’s best to keep things simple, so we advise that you use only a few selected plants and materials and let them speak for themselves.

Remember, bold colours can take attention away from the other elements, which minimises their effect while also cramping your garden.

Enclose Your Garden To Represent Isolation

One of the key features of a Japanese garden is barriers. These barriers help create a sense of isolation and peace in the garden.

You can quickly achieve this in a small garden by using fences or hedges to enclose the space, but wood works best with the theme.

The material helps to create an intimate and relaxing environment, just like in a traditional Japanese garden.

Plan Your Design Before Implementing Anything

If you’re working with a small garden, there’s less room for error. This is important because you don’t want to install any features without planning where everything will go.

It can be challenging to understand how to maximise your available space, so using a company that specialises in Japanese garden design can be beneficial.

Use Bamboo Furniture

One of the best ways to create a zen atmosphere in your garden is using bamboo furniture. Bamboo symbolises growth and strength, which is why it’s often used in Japanese gardens.

Bamboo furniture looks fantastic, but it’s also incredibly durable and surprisingly cost-effective – making it perfect for use outdoors.

Better still, you won’t have to replace it anytime soon.

Declutter First

Living in a small space can be frustrating if it’s cluttered and full of unnecessary items. The same goes for your garden – if it’s crammed with too many things, you won’t be able to appreciate the beauty of the space.

As Japanese gardens are all about minimalism, the last thing you want is those old garden gnomes or floral sunbeds taking over your new space!

Before installing any features or plants, take some time to declutter your garden and remove any items you don’t want.

This will help you plan the design more effectively and ensure that your Japanese garden looks its best.

Final Thoughts

With a little bit of creativity and planning, you can easily create a stunning Japanese garden in a small space. By using these tips, you’ll be able to make the most out of your limited outdoor area. So, what are you waiting for?

If you need some help designing the Japanese garden of your dreams, please feel free to contact us. Our expert team of designers work on a range of projects, offering landscape design services for gardens of all shapes and sizes.

You can also take a look at our blog, which has loads of valuable tips and tricks of the trade.

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