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How to Create a Japanese Water Garden

Japanese Water Garden

Japanese water gardens are the epitome of tranquility. They incorporate water, greenery, rocks, and winding paths that lend both an air of mystery and simplicity. This kind of garden is great for smaller spaces because the goal is often to take a small garden and make it look even larger than it is. This is done by using greenery to block out any evidence of the surrounding city and make it appear as though beyond the vegetation there is nothing but blue skies, rolling hills and any other landscapes that are native to your area.

First, consider the purpose you want your garden to serve. Is it a Zen space where you plan to relax and meditate? Do you want it full of winding paths for strolling and enjoying? Do you want to use it as a space to sit down and enjoy an afternoon cup of tea? Whatever you plan to use your garden for most will impact how you set it up.

Water, stones and plants are the three most important components of any Japanese water garden. These are commonly used as streams, ponds or waterfalls, stepping stones and gravel, and plenty of shrubs, trees and other greenery. You’ll want it all to look very natural.


Water is a common feature found in Japanese water gardens. Streams often trickle their way through the garden and small pools are often found throughout. Koi fish are popular inhabitants for ponds. Koi pond kits provide all of the materials you need to get started, including a pond skimmer, waterfall filter, magnetic-drive koi pond pump, EPDM fish pond liner, liner underlay, spiral tubing, check valve discharge kit, water conditioner, bacteria, waterfall foam and written installation instructions. A pond waterfall will also contribute to the natural flow of water.


Plenty of green plants are found throughout these gardens. Thick, tall bushes are in place almost like walls to block out the surrounding area. Evergreens, bamboo, cherry blossom trees, maples, moss and more provide contrast in both texture and color to make the space exciting and interesting.


Stones can be used for paths, stepping stones and even to create a Zen gravel garden. The stones are thought to represent mountains, the earth, beaches or a flowing river.

Additional elements

A bench so you can relax in your garden and enjoy the peaceful beauty, traditional stone sculptures like a pagoda pillar, statues, a pavilion, bamboo fencing, and bridges are all common elements found throughout Japanese water gardens.

Whether you are prepared to create an expansive Japanese water garden or just want to incorporate a few of the elements into your smaller space, you are bound to end up with a beautiful area where you can relax after a long day and take in the peace of nature that surrounds you.