There are a few basic ideas that you need to follow. Japanese gardens are very much about nature and a natural looking garden is considered to be the ‘ideal’ garden.
Would you see a square pond in nature? I don’t think so! So don’t add one to your small Japanese garden. You should never create or add something to your garden that nature its self cannot.
Rocks are one of the most common things used in Japanese gardens especially the smaller ones. They are simple, natural and can be really effective. Sand is also commonly used along with a range of wild plants.
I love how the Japanese feel that they have to separate there small garden from the outside world. I don’t know why but this concept really fascinates me.
There are basically 5 types of components that should be included in small Japanese gardens.
Rock or Ishi – As I said above rocks are the foundations of Japanese gardens. Stones used are often tall, wide or arched in a natural looking way, this gives depth to the garden.
Water or Mizu – Water is calming and is a great way to make the garden look natural. The Japanese say water is supposed to remind us of the relentless passage of time.
Plants or Shokobutsu – Plants do play a secondary role to rocks and water in Japanese gardens unlike gardens from other cultures. Like water plants are said to have a meaning in Japanese gardens which is to remind us of each and every season passing away.
Ornaments or Tenkebutsu – lanterns are often used in Japanese gardens particularly smaller Japanese gardens. These ornaments add an added interest to traditional Japanese gardens.
Borrowed or Shakkei – This is usually something from outside the garden. The Japanese say it can be things from far, near, high or low.