Simple Japanese Garden Ideas

Whether it’s in a small balcony or large outdoor space, you can achieve the phase of tranquility with the easy and simple Japanese garden. From incorporating rocks and water features, these ideas can be customized to fit your preferences and needs. Furthermore, you don’t have to spare much time as these simple Japanese garden ideas are achievable to make in just one day. Are you ready to embrace the elegance of the zen garden? Let’s go find out!

All The Stuff You Need To Make A Simple Japanese Garden

Transform the journey of creating your simple Japanese garden into a fun and unforgettable activity using all these essential items. Don’t worry about not having much time and space to build the Hashi bridge and Minka house, these supplies are more than enough to construct your little slice of Tokyo in your home.


Simple Japanese Garden Ideas

Pathways are the first paramount thing about zen gardens. Not only do they help visitors walk through and enjoy the beauty of the zen garden, but it also helps to connect one area with another. For a simple Japanese garden, the commonly used pathway is the stepping stone, known as tobi-ishi, which means ‘flying stones’

These stepping stones are widely available both online and offline, and with various sizes, designs, materials, and colors available, you can freely pick one that suits your garden the most. To create more contrast and define the stepping stones, place some sand and smaller pebble rocks all around the stepping stones. 

Water Elements

Simple Japanese Garden Ideas water fountain

The use of water elements in a simple Japanese garden is not just about visual interest. Water plays an important role in the zen garden as it symbolizes purity and life. For a simpler design, you don’t have to build a whole koi fish pond. Shishi-odoshi, or ‘the deer scarer’, is a bamboo water fountain that can be perfectly used to incorporate the essence of water elements in the zen garden. It varies in size, and often comes in sets with a bamboo, granite, or wood basin–and unlike fish ponds, it can be easily installed in one day.


Japanese-style bench

Happiness is having the chance to enjoy a cup of afternoon tea, or simply enjoying time with your loved ones while adoring the beauty of the zen garden. A Japanese-style bench, mostly made from granite, bamboo, or wood material, and usually without a bench back, is a flawless addition to simple Japanese landscape ideas. Easy to get and doesn’t require time to build except for the DIY ones, the price for one Japanese style bench varies anywhere from 100$ to 1000$.


Japanese-style planters

To incorporate more of that Japanese look into your garden, we recommend using Japanese-style planters. The design is pretty simple yet eye-catching, and it blends well with nature as it gives that calm atmosphere. Materials from wood, terra cotta, gravel, and river rock are among the most favored.

Ornamental Equipment

Ornamental Equipment

Play with ornamental equipment to add a touch of sophistication to the zen garden. Dai-doro or stone lanterns are the most used ornamental stuff to bring light into the night. Not only for gardens, in Japan, dai-doro is also used in Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Bamboo and wood lanterns are also available for more lightweight materials. 

Although not necessary, placing a Buddha statue, koi fish statue, or dragon statue would embrace the elegance while helping you to be more aware of your surroundings. More affordable alternatives like a bamboo fence, a pile of meditation rocks, or sudare (window coverings) made of bamboo would not hurt your bank.

The Essential Plants For The Tiny Zen Garden

The goal of the zen garden is to provide a sense of serenity in the midst of stressful and chaos of daily life. Traditional Japanese trees and plants have always been included to reach this point. For a simple Japanese garden, it’s highly suggested to choose container or pot plants with easy to medium maintenance that would not take too much space to thrive. What’s more, pick the best plant that can grow both indoors and outdoors.

lucky bamboo

For green foliage plants, the options range from the easy-to-grow lucky bamboo and green panda bamboo to the evergreen hinoki cypress bonsai. To add the striking and fresh color of green, take advantage of moss to cover the bald ground area along with stones and sand.

Spark more colors to the minimalist zen garden with some colorful foliage plants. Shirasawa maple and beni hoshi maple are native to Japan and spring bloomers with spectacular foliage shapes. They grow in numerous cultivated hues and can be pruned to keep as small to medium shrubs. Furthermore, include the intense, cluster of pink blossoms of the East Asian cherry bonsai to embrace a contradictory color for your simple Japanese garden ideas.

The clever way to encourage pollinators to the zen garden party is by adding some flowering plants. The flowering plants we suggest for a simple Japanese garden include cockscomb, oriental poppies, urn orchids, and azaleas or rhododendron. Finding a native to Japan plant is not mandatory. Remember that the simple Japanese landscape ideas aim to create a space that is full of peace.

Simple Japanese Landscape Ideas 

With all the go-to materials above and some creativity, you can create a captivating yet simple Japanese garden. Below are some designs to give you insight.

Go For Sandy Zen Garden

Simple Japanese Garden Ideas

As the name implies, sand is the main material that we want to highlight for this zen garden landscape. Feature darker color of stepping stones to give contrast within the sand. Place a dai-doro near the scenery as an ornamental feature. To give a fresh look, plant some shrubs or cover half of the ground with moss. 

Tiny Buddha Home

Tiny Buddha Home

The tiny Buddha statue is our main star for this simple Japanese garden idea. Place the tiny Buddha statue on the corner side of your zen garden. Surround the statue with groups of smaller and bigger rocks. Choose plants like hosta and cultivated dwarf bamboo for a more defined look.

Spark Some Colors With Containers and Pot Plants

Simple Japanese Garden Ideas

Splash the Japanese-related tones like red, pink, and purple by utilizing some easy-to-grow in containers and pot plants. Arrange blue hydrangeas near the entrance door or gateway. Let the purple Japanese irises bloom as the calming sound of splashing water from the shishi-odoshi fills the zen garden area.

Peaceful Bonsai Heaven

bonsai garden japanese

Surround the bonsai empire with ground covering moss and sand. For this simple Japanese landscape idea, you don’t necessarily need any other plants but shall create an evergreen place with a good bonsai arrangement according to its shape and size. An addition of a pile of river rocks would make a more picturesque scenery. 

A Touch of Japanese Beauty Indoors

indoor japanese garden style

Whether you have a large indoor space or just a small corner, a simple Japanese garden can be achieved as easily by using potted plants, mini shishi-odoshi surrounded by lucky bamboo, and a small rocky and sandy area. A little maintenance succulent and bonsai can be a great substitute plant for those with a high working schedule. 

A Mini Zen Garden Made Simple: Final Words

A simple Japanese garden should be an affordable project that can be completed in a mere hour. With some creativity in mind that blends with a few basic materials, you can enjoy a piece of tranquility in your home.

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