The Art of the Japanese Garden: How to Create a Relaxing Backyard

If you want to create a space that will immediately make your stress and other negative feelings melt and disappear, look for inspiration in the East. Japanese gardens are prevalent in landscaping because of their relaxing effects. They promote calm and tranquility and represents a harmonious coexistence between nature and humans.

A Japanese garden-inspired landscape is perfect for your property. You can customize the design based on your own style, but here are some elements that should remain to make your backyard as authentic as possible:

The Zen in Raking

Raking sand to create patterns and shapes might not sound appealing, but it might just be the cure to your stress.

The Japanese rock garden, more popularly known as the Zen garden, is a profoundly spiritual and relaxing part of ancient Japanese tradition. The rocks and sand/gravel are the most critical aspects of the landscape. They represent the island and sea/ocean, respectively. The rake, and the patterns you create with it, mimic the look of waves on the surface of a body of water.

For this, you need an elevated ground. You should look into stump grinding to remove elevation left behind by felled trees. You also want large rocks that jut out of the earth and white sand or gravel to make a dry stream.

Moss Takes Over

Moss is one of the signature elements of Japanese gardens. The presence of moss in raked sand provides a striking but relaxing contrast. Moss will make your yard look aged.

It, however, does not thrive on walkways. Add the plant only on top of large rocks and other sculptures that you can add to your garden.

A Private Pavilion for Tea

Of course, you would want a space where you can sit down and enjoy the calm of your backyard. Consider creating a pavilion at the heart of your Japanese Zen garden.

The pavilion should be made of wood to make it look more natural and at home in the space.



Japanese gardens utilize different types of plants, but most of them are evergreens. Evergreens, as the name suggests, keeps its foliage all year round.

Do not be afraid to provide variety in your backyard. Japanese gardens mix textures and colors, which makes the space even more nature-inspired. Some of the most common trees and shrubs found in Japanese gardens include Japanese maple, Japanese wisteria, Japanese pines, rhododendrons, peonies, and the famous cherry trees.

Sound of Water

Finally, perhaps the most relaxing aspect of Japanese gardens is the presence of water. The sound and sight of water will instantly calm you down. So when designing your backyard, set aside space for waterfalls and ponds.

To make it more pleasant to the ears, acquire a shishi odoshi, otherwise known as deer scarer. The traditional device is made up of bamboo, and it is near bodies of water. It deters animals, particularly deers, by creating a hollow knocking sound every time the bamboo turns over and spills the water within.

To animals, the sound it creates is frightening. To humans, the shishi odoshi is a beautiful addition to a garden.

Your Japanese garden does not have to be accurate. You can customize depending on your needs and wants. However, keep some of these elements to create a relaxing environment in your backyard.

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