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7 Japanese Garden Ideas For Front Yard

Gardening with Japanese style is a very attractive idea, especially if you are in love with gardening or looking for some new ideas in designing your front yard.

If you are looking for Japanese garden ideas, then the first thing that may come to mind is traditional Japanese gardens with tiny ponds in which koi fish swim in circles. 

Well, this article is written to unveil the secrets of Japanese gardens and provide you with 7 unique Japanese garden ideas that can be applied to your home right now without spending too much money.

Let’s get started with our first idea.

1). Japanese Stone Garden

Japanese garden ideas


You must have heard about Japanese stone gardens plenty of times when it comes to Japanese culture and its uniqueness.

Also known as Zen Gardens, these types of gardens are considered an art form related to nature rather than just being a simple display of flowers or plants.

Also, these kinds of gardens have only a few plants and the main elements of these gardens are stones which are arranged in a very artistic way.

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To have a Japanese stone garden, you must first pick a place for your garden where it can get plenty of sunlight throughout the day because this type of garden requires much sunlight to grow well.    

Once you have decided on a location, you will need to prepare the soil as these kinds of gardens require nutrient-enriched soil that is loose and fertile. 

You should plant some ferns or small shrubs around your yard if you do not want grass as the only ground cover for your stone-arranged garden. 

In addition, choose some taller growing plants such as bamboo or ornamental grasses in order to add color and dimension to your stone garden.

The next step is to lay a rock garden path that can be made from crushed gravel, natural stone slabs, or simply pea gravel. Don’t forget to use some larger rocks if you want to add height and dimension to your path.

After laying the path for your garden, start arranging the stones of different sizes, shapes, and colors in order to get a nice-looking arrangement that will delight you every day when you see it in your front yard.

Remember not to rush up with this process because it requires time, patience, and effort in order to yield great results. For example, don’t arrange all the stones in their places right away as it will take weeks for them to settle down and become stable.

2). Zen Buddhist Garden

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Another great idea for front yard gardens with Japanese style is having a Zen Buddhist garden which is quite popular in the US, UK, and other western countries.

The main element of these kinds of gardens is gravel or sand that starts at your home entrance and finishes far away from it where you can meditate on the stones (known as zen stone lanterns) while enjoying your refreshed view.

If you want to build this type of garden around your house, an area near your backyard will be perfect. Also, make sure to lay some ground cover first such as grass or simply pea gravel so that you won’t need to do any maintenance on the path afterward.

As for the zen stone lanterns, you can buy them or simply make them yourself by stacking up boulders of different sizes on top of each other. 

However, it’s important to choose some stable ones in order not to cause any harm when they fall down. And do not forget about having a nice reservoir or pond near your Buddhist garden because these are considered even better for meditation purposes.

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3). Japanese Water Garden

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Another great idea with Japanese style is having a water garden where plenty of fountains and ponds with small bridges are arranged harmoniously next to each other. 

If you want to have this type of garden at your home, you will need to be patient enough since it requires a long time before reaching its final form.

However, it’s also a great idea because you can invest in some water plants that will flourish around the fountains and ponds. 

In addition, having a few bamboo trees around your water garden will give it a real Japanese look as well as some ornamental grasses if you want to add dimensions with their heights as well as color.

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4). Strawberry Garden

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If you have some space in your front yard or backyard, planting strawberry plants may be an interesting choice since they are considered easy to grow and maintain. 

Also, these plants require plenty of sunlight throughout the day meaning that during the summer months they can enjoy up to 12 hours of sunlight on a daily basis which is exactly what they need.

In addition, you can plant some raspberry or goji berry plants around the strawberry one in order to have a small fruit garden. 

If you have enough space, try planting some other types of berries as well since they will all flourish greatly during summertime and yield great results throughout the year.

5). Hedge Garden

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Another idea with Japanese style for your front yard is having a hedge garden where evergreen bushes are planted on each side of a stone path arranged from your home entrance to the main gate. 

However, make sure to cut these bushes into different forms such as round or ovals but not too much because this might look weird and spoil the overall appearance of your garden. 

In fact, you can have one bush shaped in round form and another one in oval shape next to each other which will give your garden a real Japanese look.

Another great idea is having some ornamental grasses around or between the bushes that are considered easy to grow and maintain as well. 

If you want, plant some low-maintenance flowers such as pansies or marigolds near them because they will thrive greatly during the summer months.

Read Also:-  Can I Use Miracle Grow On Japanese Maple Tree?

6). Rock Garden

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A rock garden with Japanese style is also a perfect choice for your front yard where stones of different shapes and colors are arranged harmoniously on top of small mounds of soil spread throughout the area for this purpose. 

You can decorate these mounds by planting some decorative bushes like lavenders while placing some ornamental stones all around the garden with the main stone or a couple of big rocks as an entrance marker.

7). Bonsai Garden

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Using bonsai plants for decorating front yards is not only an Asian trend but it’s also possible to use these docile plants for creating amazing landscapes within small areas such as your front yard. 

So, if you want to do this type of gardening at your place, start by choosing some suitable bonsai trees and pots in order to match them together. 

Next, prepare the ground by laying some pea gravel and then carefully plant the tree into the pot spreading its roots outward until they find their way through small holes on each side of the pot.

After setting up these elements, you can continue by arranging some stones at the bottom of your pot to give it a more realistic look while holding the soil in its place. 

In addition, you can also try carving the name of your bonsai tree on a stone and placing it near the tree as well to add more details to your garden.

Read Also:-  Can I Use Miracle Grow On Japanese Maple Tree?

Using ornamental grasses to create a small island surrounded by pebbles placed throughout its area in a circular form arranged from bigger rocks at its perimeter going smaller towards the center which is filled with colorful gravels.

Making use of several different types of orn stones for this project such as jade, quartz, and agate in order to create a realistic rock garden where stones are placed on top of soil mounds spread throughout the area.

Planting trees with long leaves like willows or ornamental grasses around the stone path is used for reaching your front yard gate. However, make sure to plant them far enough from the pathway itself to avoid getting obstacles along the way.

Using different types of plants such as ornamental grasses, hedges, and berries to decorate your hedge garden is considered easy to maintain since all you need is trimming it regularly.

Organizing several bonsai plants around or between bushes that are easy to grow and require low maintenance work during summer months when sunlight hours increase allows them to flourish greatly.

Engage in a Japanese-style rock garden where stones of different shapes and colors are arranged harmoniously on top of small mounds of soil spread throughout the area. Having ornamental grasses around or between bushes that are easy to grow. 

They also need to require low maintenance work during summer months when sunlight hours increase allowing them to flourish greatly.

What do you need?

To create a true Japanese-style garden design in your backyard, there are certain materials and tools that are needed for achieving an authentic look. And here they are:

  • Soil – You can purchase soil from any landscaping store. But be sure to get improved/enriched soil for better results.
  • Plants – You can choose from a long list of plants that grow in Japan and have bonsai tree shapes.
  • Rocks – White pebbles, stones, or small boulders are needed to give a feel of real Japanese gardens where water flows through the rocks and plants. Get them at any local landscape store too.
  • Stone lanterns – Hand-made ones like these will be great accent pieces for your garden that will serve as lighting fixtures during the night. They come in various sizes, designs, and materials; some are even battery-powered with illumination inside to act as lamps at night.

Basic steps in creating your very own Japanese garden design in the front yard

1). Decide on how big you want to make it and what will be the layout of the pond, stone lanterns, and plants. You can decide these things based on the available budget for materials and time (if you want professional help). 

Be sure to provide enough space for walking around and sitting at a table with mini bonsai trees as accent pieces here and there.

2). If you would like to create a waterless garden where only pebbles cover the entire surface of your plot (which is easier to maintain by the way), then lay out some weed blocker fabric first. 

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This is basically the plastic sheet that landscaping companies use for separating plants from grass. This is to prevent grass and weeds from growing again so you will save yourself some time mowing the lawn or gardening.

3). Prepare your soil with enriched nutrients by mixing them in water before pouring them on top of the weed blocker fabric. This is to ensure that you have fertile quality soil all throughout your garden’s depth.

4). Add rocks, stones, or pebbles on top of the layer of enriched soil. Make sure that they are leveled out evenly; no gaps should be present since this would destroy its authentic Japanese look.

5). Put in decorative mini bonsai trees as accent pieces with moss rock around them like these ones shown below. You can also buy sets with mini stone lanterns inside.

You can also put in mini ponds that are no deeper than a few inches and place some colorful koi fish swimming around it for a more authentic look.

6). Then, add some plants to make it look full and not empty. Put them at the back of your garden area so they won’t get in your way of walking around or sitting on a table.

7). Water them regularly especially during the summer season. This will help maintain the barren look of pebbles while preventing dust from accumulating, turning it into mud then drying soil again after several weeks of baking under the sun.

8). Place small stones or rocks on top of plants’ roots to give an illusion that they are planted with a stone lantern underneath instead of a plastic one.

9). Lastly, add some ornate stones or boulders on top of your garden’s surface to give an authentic Japanese look.


Explore the tranquility of Japanese garden ideas for your front yard on PlantGardener. Discover the art of incorporating traditional elements like stone lanterns, bamboo fences, and serene water features to transform your outdoor space. Dive into the harmony of nature and meticulous design, creating a peaceful haven at your doorstep. Immerse yourself in the beauty of carefully curated plants, symbolic rocks, and minimalist layouts that evoke the essence of a Japanese garden. Elevate your landscaping with these inspiring ideas, blending aesthetics and serenity for a front yard that radiates timeless elegance and Zen ambiance. 🌿🏡

Read Also:- The Best Japanese Maple For Bonsai (Top List 2022)


Placing Japanese Garden Ideas for Front Yard rocks together with other materials can instantly transform your garden into something amazing.

Be careful when selecting stones though because some of them might not be good for the plants and might cause adverse effects.

Read Also:- How To Grow Japanese Maple From Seed Indoors

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