Third appointment with the Garden Design column.

Today we will focus on to the Japanese Garden, rich in symbolism and tradition.
For the Japanese, the garden is a place of peace and harmony, to be dedicated to finding oneself. A space where you can contemplate nature in all its beauty, without distractions and superfluous objects.

When we design a Japanese Garden we must not leave anything to chance. We have to put all the elements in the landscape in a harmonious way so as to create a natural space that does not appear to be an artifact.
How to create it? With simple, essential forms and avoiding symmetries and rigid patterns.

What are the elements that should always be in a Japanese garden?
Let’s discover them together.

  • Stone Lanterns

japanese garden lanterns

Traditionally, stone lanterns indicated the path that led to pond or tea house. Today, however, especially in modern gardens, we, often, use them as a simple decorative element. There are different types.

The Oribe, are without a base and are stuck directly in the ground, the Pagoda, which recall the Buddhist temples and finally the most common Yukimidoro. They are lanterns with 4 legs generally used in ponds.

  • Water basins and Ponds

japanese garden water basin

Ponds and fountains are strongly symbolic elements in Japanese culture. Symbolize purification and regeneration. In fact, water purifies the energy of the place by moving continuously. The typical Japanese fountain is composed of two parts: Shishidoshi, the two bamboo canes that generate the continuous movement of water and Tzukubai, a round stone basin that contains it.

  • Rocks

japanese garden rocks

In the tradition of Japanese gardens, stone is the element that unites the inanimate world with the living world of plants and water. They can be found in different forms, each representing a particular meaning.

For exemple, high and pointed stones represent the masculine forms while low and soft stones are the female ones. Stones are usually used to create paths within the garden. They always arrange themselves in an irregular way, they never follow symmetry.

  • Bamboo Fences

japanese bamboo fences

The perception of space in the Japanese Garden is very important. Man must perceive depth and freedom and never feel oppressed and closed. For this reason we often use the bamboo plants with an elongated and vertical shape. They represent life and growth, thus expanding the perception of the landscape.

Japanese Garden plants

japanese garden plants
Acer palmatum

Acer palmatum is a small, deciduous tree with palmate leaves of bright green. In autumn they take on their purple red color which makes them unique.

Pine Tree

Highly used in the Japanese Garden, pines can be of different species. Usually we use the White Pine (parviflora) and the Black Pine (thunbergii). They are a symbol of strength and wisdom and resistance. They are not easy to grow and care for because of their needles.

Azalea Japonica

This plant offers magnificent flowers that form bushes and small trees.
The colors range from white to red, to pink, to violet. They are a symbol of femininity and luck.


Ornamental plant widely used in Japanese gardens. It produces colored cup-shaped flowers, usually of different shades between the inside and the outside of the flower. Despite being a shrubby plant the magnolia can reach large dimensions.


The cherry blossom, in Japanese culture, has very important meanings. The “sakura” (Japanese term) flourishes in a luxuriant way but has a short duration and for this reason it represents the ephemeral nature of all things. Every year Japan celebrates the blossoming of the cherry tree with hanami, literally watching the flowers “.