How to Make a Japanese Garden in a Small Space

Japanese Garden in a Small Space

A Japanese garden is not aimed towards creating the biggest and the best garden. Japanese gardens are testaments to purpose and simplicity and not about glitz or glamour. So, to get a Japanese garden in its truest form, you need to keep it simple, which is quite possible in a small place.

To create a true Japanese garden, all you need to do is stay loyal to its culture and values. While you might be tempted to get common ideas that work for you, like bridges or flowers, do not forget that it is not a part of the Japanese garden; instead, it belongs to Chinese culture. Do intense research on Japanese culture before you go ahead and pop up all the Japanese garden ideas.

Steps to Build a Small Japanese Garden

As we know that Japanese gardens are not all about big spaces, we can also build them small spaces with the same ideologies and authenticity. Given below are the steps that you can follow to enhance your Japanese garden ideas and end up having one of your dreams.

Pick a Style.

In A small fancy tea garden or Roji, you need to be clear about your theme and the type of garden you want to have. To make it easier on you, we have mentioned below some types of small gardens –

Types of Small Japanese Gardens

  1. Roji or Chaniwa – This garden is also known as a tea garden and is more popular than it is in Japan. You might have seen this structure in television shows and films.
  2. Tsubo-Niwa – This is a Japanese courtyard garden evolved because of the necessity to have a garden in an area or space.
  3. Kayushiki Teien – This Japanese garden is a surreal arrangement of bridges, plants, trees, ponds, and streams. It is also known as strolling gardens as guests stroll through elements to find tranquility and peace.
  4. Shoinzukuri Teien – This Japanese garden is also known as a study garden whose primary motive is to get people involved in quietude and meditation.

A theme of your garden should be able to express who you are and how to comfort does it bring you.

Mark up the Space

We are clear about the fact that we do not need a big garden, but that does not mean you can escape from the responsibility to finalize a space from your yard or backyard that you want to utilize for your garden.

Get an Architectural Plan

Once you have finalized all the natural elements that you want to include in your garden, it is time to incorporate the same in the construction plan. After all, arrangements and views are equally important.

Think of a Symbolism.

Remember that you are building a Japanese garden. Everything that you decide to include in your design must be correct zen wise, and aesthetic-wise.

Focus on Natural Materials

Japanese Garden in a Very Small Space

Since the Japanese garden is based on the Zen concept, everything gets natural. To fence the area, you can use a bamboo stick to help you build the garden’s meaningful design. Bamboo is a renewable resource that makes it ideal for incorporating nature into a crafted space.

Small Stone Pathways

While speaking of the icons that will speak of your Zen goal, small pathways made from stones will wind past concrete statues. These stones are closely related to Japanese cultures, indicating what is waiting in the future while parallelly respecting your past. What a beautiful way to approach life.

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Keeping Up with Right Plants

It is not at all mandatory for you to include a lot of plants in your garden. Ideal Japanese plants like essential mossy or crawling plants can get you the garden influenced by Japanese Culture. It is easy to maintain and keeps up with the concept.

Include Water Element

Japanese garden is incomplete without an element of water. Generally, a pond or a waterfall is included in the design, but the same is not possible with the small space. In this case, you can include a stone water basin.

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Go for Evergreens.

Japanese gardens are based on the principle of staying close to nature, and therefore it is advisable to have maximum plants that are evergreens like pines, boxwood, moss, or a holly. It is not necessary to have large plants, and you can include bonsais.

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Designed for People.

Japanese gardens are scaled for people to feel that they belong. Large trees with a height of 90 feet might make humans look smaller, which is something Japanese culture does not like to include in its garden.


It is important to keep your garden space enclosed so that you can get the peace that is to expect from a Japanese garden. Moreover, no one wants to listen to the neighbor’s fight while they are trying to relax between plants and the sound of water. As mentioned earlier, you make this enclosed space using bamboo sticks or such other material.


Now that your garden is all done, make sure that you take care of it properly. Regular pruning and maintenance are what will gradually help in the evolution of your authentic Japanese Garden.

At this point, it does not matter if you have a small space to achieve your Japanese garden ideas. Until you can bring all the above-mentioned steps and characteristics into your garden, you can easily get your authentic Japanese garden. Ensure that you are not excluding anything from the list, as they are the fundamentals of a small Japanese garden.

Benefits of Making Japanese Garden in a Small Space

  1. Low Maintenance: Many of you might think that it is effortless to maintain a Japanese garden, but it is not as easy as it sounds. When you get your garden in a small space, it gets a lot easier to pour water, pruning of plants, and such other responsibilities.
  2. Aesthetics on Point: When talking about exterior home décor, what is better than a small Japanese garden with all its aesthetic sheer beauty. You can also have an opportunity to experiment with colors, elements, and structuring.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle with a Zen: Small Japanese gardens are ideal for exotic and healthy plants such as tea or mint. Placing all the elements uniquely will bring you a garden with Zen ideals and practice. It provides you with a miniaturized ambiance of balance, tranquility, and peace.
  4. Family Time: The modern era has led to decreased family time. Having a small garden right outside your house might allow you to spend some quality time with your family.


The bottom line is that all the necessary elements that constitute a Japanese garden do not require a lot of space.

It might get a little difficult to include all the elements, but everything can fit in by thinking through. Proper planning and a good design can give you the gift of a small Japanese garden of your own.

We hope we can deliver the best, and for any doubts, our comment section is always open.

Sandy Jensen
Sandy Jensen is the founder of OrganizeWithSandy and Works with Champalimaud Design where she curates and creates fresh ideas for designing and styling your life.

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