Important Features of Japanese Landscape Design

When you are planning a landscape project in Japan, you should focus on certain key features. A few of these elements are bridges, islands, and the Rhododendron blossom. These features will help you create a beautiful Japanese landscape.

Borrowed scenery

Traditional Japanese landscape designs incorporate many elements of nature, such as lush plants and trees. The Japanese also love to include animals, such as Koi fish and ducks, in their gardens. These elements tie into the peaceful intentions of the design. In addition to plants, Japanese gardens often feature mosses.

Bridges are another important feature of a Japanese landscape design. These structures are usually narrow, but are a focal point of a garden, and they can be made of wood, bamboo, earth, or stone. The shape of the bridge can be round, arc-shaped, or zigzag-shaped. The purpose of a bridge is to connect the garden to the surrounding area.

The Japanese love to place plants around water features, so they tend to use plants that can enhance the overall water effect. Weeping willows, for example, can bend down to create the illusion of a glass surface. Acer palmatum, meanwhile, can reflect fire-like colors across water. The Japanese also don’t scrub surfaces, preferring to leave them with a natural patina. This reflects their belief in the value of age. Even lawns can be given the Japanese treatment with moss gardens.

In addition to mosses, Japanese gardens use a variety of plants. Cherry and maple trees are often chosen for their seasonal beauty. Plum trees and bamboo trees are also highly prized. Irises are also important members of a Japanese landscape design. Irises bloom in late May and early June and have large, soft flowers. Moreover, they are known as hana-shobu, which means “big flower”.


One of the most important features of Japanese landscape design is the bridge. Bridges are built in an attempt to blend into the natural landscape and are usually constructed of natural stone or wood, painted in red lacquer. They represent spiritual meanings, derived from both Buddhist and Taoist philosophy. For example, crossing over a bridge is symbolic of the journey to the afterlife, the purification of worldly burdens, and the union with nature.

Bridges are also important features of Japanese gardens. They add both functionality and beauty. These structures are designed to cross over a body of water, which is usually a lake or stream. Typically, they are located on an island or on a lake, and their location is carefully selected to make them blend with the landscape.

The Moon Bridge in the Huntington Library Japanese Garden is a great example. It was constructed in the mid-19th century and is an early example of Japonism in the Western world. It was built by the master carpenter, Toichiro Kawai, a Japanese immigrant from Yokohama. It is made of wood and has an exaggerated arch shape. The bridge is also known as a ‘drum bridge’ in Japanese culture.

The bridge is the most important feature of the Japanese landscape. It connects two banks. It is also used to cross rivers, and is a symbol of the earth and the sky. Japanese landscape designs often include bridges, as these structures are a necessary part of a garden.


One of the most important features of Japanese landscape design is the use of cascades. There are seven types described in the Sakuteiki, which suggest specific placement. For example, it is recommended to place the cascades facing the moon to capture its reflection in the water. It is also important to place them half-hidden in shadows. The Rikugi-en garden, also known as the Garden of the Eight Immortals, is a good example of this type of Japanese landscape design.

Plants are also an important feature of a traditional Japanese landscape. Many types of trees, shrubs, and flowers are used in this style. Maple and cherry trees are particularly popular, and many other species are used extensively. Mosses are also a common element of traditional Japanese gardens. There are over 100 different species of moss at Kokedera.

Bridges are another important feature of Japanese gardens. Some bridges are merely a simple wooden or stone structure, while others are huge and are constructed from several different materials. Bridges are a focal point of Japanese gardens and are often used to sit and observe water features. They are also used to connect islands with each other.

In addition to water features, Japanese gardens often include borrowed scenery. This is where the gardener can see features outside the garden, making it seem larger. Many of the Japanese gardens of the Heian period resembled Chinese gardens, but the Edo period exhibited some distinct differences.

Rhododendron blossoms

Rhododendron blossoms are one of the most important features of Japanese landscape design. They bloom in spring and symbolize fragile beauty. In the summer, these delicate flowers give way to waxy leaves. Rhododendrons are often planted in clusters, creating a’miniature landscape’ effect. Azaleas, however, are more popular in Japan, as they are less fussy about pruning. Japanese gardens are typically very limited, and so it’s not unusual to see these plants in even small spaces.

Azaleas and rhododendrons are related, but they grow differently. Azaleas are smaller shrubs with narrow, twiggy branches. Rhododendrons grow to be larger than azaleas, with larger flowers and bell-shaped blossoms.

Japanese gardens are also full of water. A Japanese garden will include special areas for water basins, where visitors can clean themselves and drink water. This allows them to cleanse themselves both mentally and spiritually. It also helps them to wash away their cares. Adding a water feature is a great way to complement the natural beauty of your garden.

Rhododendron blossoms are a wonderful feature of Japanese gardens. They are the big sister to azaleas, which have beautiful pink flowers. They are especially popular in Japanese gardens, where they are often seen growing over large arbours.

Yodomari stone arrangements

Decorative stones are a crucial part of Japanese landscape design. In particular, the Sanzon-ishigumi stone triad, which comprises a central stone that represents the deity and two supporting stones on either side, is particularly popular. Other stone arrangements include the Yodomari, where rocks are arranged in a line in front of an island, symbolizing the treasures that lie on the island.

The two basic types of stone arrangements are low and tall vertical. The tall vertical stone is usually the focal point of a landscape arrangement and is generally more than a metre high. The low vertical stone is usually lower than a metre tall. Both types of stones provide energy and movement to the arrangement.

The next important feature of a traditional Japanese landscape is the selection of plants. The traditional Japanese landscape includes many types of trees, shrubs, and flowers. For a particularly tranquil outdoor space, cherry trees and maple trees are particularly suitable. In addition, mosses are frequently used.

Stone water basins are an important feature of a traditional Japanese garden. There are numerous types of stone water basins. Some of these feature a pond, a waterfall, and an obelisk. These water basins can be found in endless varieties, so you’re sure to find one that fits your needs.

Zen Buddhist garden

One of the most important features of a Japanese garden design is a meditation space. The perfect location for a meditation area is a flat area, preferably in a side yard. Before implementing a design, make preliminary measurements of the area. Peruse a variety of resources to determine the ideal size and location, and visit local gardens with Zen spaces to get some ideas. Once you have a general idea of what you want from your meditation area, make a wish list of the qualities you would most want to have in it. For example, you might want to promote one or all of the seven principles of Zen.

Another important feature of a Zen garden is the use of boulders. These stones, which are often large and irregular in shape, represent the inland land. The use of small trees and shrubs complement these stones and create a tranquil space for meditation. Although boulders are a key feature of Zen gardens, there are many other elements you can use to add to your garden design.

A Japanese garden design encourages visitors to walk and contemplate the landscape. It has meandering paths that lead to various points of interest and can be a great way to make the most of a small outdoor space. Nigel Gomme, a designer in London, has incorporated raised curving pathways into his garden design. Instead of using concrete, he chose hardwood deckboards for the walkways. The design creates five distinct planting areas. In addition, rounded shrubs echo the curving design and grassy hillocks increase the sense of movement.

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