Top 4 Japanese Garden Tips from a Landscape Designer in Upper Allen, PA

Do you dream of a tranquil and relaxing retreat in your Upper Allen, PA, backyard? A Japanese garden may be the ideal solution. A well-designed, Asian-influenced landscape offers minimalistic beauty with a focus on quiet contemplation. A landscape designer can create the ultimate Japanese garden that successfully blends the soothing sounds of moving water with meandering pathways and well-kept greenery.

Japanese Landscape Design

Japanese garden design focuses on four main elements: water, rocks, plants, and ornamental features. These elements are used in combination with Asian design principles such as balance, symbolism, and imitation of nature. When used together properly, these elements and principles create a landscape that reflects the outside world but on a smaller scale.

Focus on Minimalistic Design

A Japanese garden should focus on clean lines, natural materials, and calming elements. This may require some forethought on placement—you may want to distance your new garden away from the hustle and bustle of your outdoor kitchen or overly modern outdoor fireplace.


As for the design of the garden itself, plant selections will differ from what you’d find in traditional landscapes. Instead of bright flowers and succulents, your landscape designer will select plants such as bamboo, moss, and Japanese maples to add interest with texture and shape rather than through bright colors.

Top 4 Japanese Garden Tips from a Landscape Designer in Upper Allen, PA

Dry gardens of sand and stone could be an option instead of flower beds. An area of raked gravel surrounding larger rocks would represent ripples of waves in water. Such dry gardens create a serene spot for quiet meditation.

Encourage Exploration

Part of the allure of a Japanese garden is in the winding pathways that lead visitors through the serene landscape. They’re not only designed this way for aesthetic reasons. Some Asian cultures believe that spirits can only walk in straight lines, so some paths and walkways are winding to give people a chance to escape the spirits.

By curving paths and walkways through a collection of restful destinations such as benches, water features, and statuary, your landscape designer can create beautiful vignettes that beg exploration.

Include Soothing Water Features

No Japanese garden would be complete without a beautiful water feature. A pond or fountain creates a striking focal point and provides a spot for quiet contemplation.


Ponds bring a sense of peace and calm to your landscape. They also create a natural ecosystem that can attract birds and wildlife to your yard. Depending on the size of your property, a pond can be a small pool of water or large enough to cover most of the backyard.

Fountains bring the soothing sounds of flowing water to your property but don’t require as much space as a pond or stream. Japanese fountains feature simple designs that place the focus on the moving water rather than on the fountain itself. A minimalistic bamboo spout that flows into a stone basin, for example, would blend with the natural elements of the landscape.

Add Structure

Many Japanese gardens feature beautiful architectural structures such as a pavilions, pagodas, and bridges. Of course, the size of your landscape will determine the scale and use of these structures. A large structure such as a tea house or pavilion offers a place for entertaining or relaxing and enjoying the scenery in any type of weather.

Statues are popular features of Japanese gardens and deserve consideration. Typical styles include stone lanterns shaped as pagodas, bronze, or stone Buddha figures and animal sculptures.