The first impression you receive as you step into a Japanese garden is the sense of calmness and serenity. A Japanese garden reflect man?s efforts at harmonizing the beauty of nature in a timeless and ? apparently ? effortless fashion. With the presence of water, often in the form of a narrow stream, arched bridges, small hillocks, raked sand and rocks, the final structure of the Japanese garden resonates with mellow notes of tranquility and spirituality.

The three basic styles of Japanese gardens are:

  • Hill and Pond (Chisen-Kaiyu-skiki)
  • Flat Garden (Hiraniwa)
  • Tea Gardens (Rojiniwa)

The basic rules are more or less same, while the particular features are incorporated in line with the specific type of the garden.

In the Japanese gardens you will come to find a rare bonding with nature. Despite the use of many artificial structural elements like bridges or water bodies or artificially created hills, Japanese gardens are created to reflect the nature in her most unadulterated form. Thus “harmonious asymmetry” becomes the rule for Japanese gardeners and simplicity becomes the inspiration behind their work. If you are going to recreate the Japanese magic in your garden, then follow the thumb rules described below.
The illusion of time and space

To eyes accustomed to a European style of gardening, where well-manicured plants vie for your attention in all areas of the garden, Japanese gardens may appear to offer an illusion of emptiness at first glance. The garden contains many different elements yet looks open and spacious. This trick of space management is the first lesson in the Japanese style of gardening.

Selection of plants

A Japanese garden attempts to reflect the permanence of nature. That is why it is the evergreen trees that become the dominating feature of Japanese gardens. The plants in the Japanese gardens represent the seasonal cycles. Because of this selection, the Japanese gardens are not discarded during the winters. The essence of the four seasons can nowhere be better felt than in the changing appearance of Japanese garden through the year.
Bringing balance

In an ode to nature, the Japanese gardens strive to represent the nature in a miniscule, but in its closest form. As for example, in a Japanese garden, you can not accommodate a pond that is a perfect square in shape. Because nature never produced s such a geometrical wonders. Similarly, in your pursuit of imitating nature, you have also to incorporate the spirit of balance. As for example to create a mountain in your small garden, you can make use of the small rocks, but not the huge ones.

Creating the right enclosure has great symbolic value. The fencing is created with the aim of containing the serenity inside the garden uninterrupted by the goings on in the outside world. Sometimes, small windows are created in the solid walls to lure the passer by with the beauty that lies inside the garden enclosure.
Ornamentation with lanterns

No Japanese garden is ever complete without the addition of a stone lantern. These are available in a variety of designs and styles. There are three main varieties of lanterns that are used in the Japanese gardens: the Kasuga style lantern, the Oribe style lanterns and the Yukimi or Snow-Viewing lantern.

In short, Japanese gardens are a reflection of the balance of nature and can provide a place of spirituality and tranquility.