Far East Inspired Gardens

Published on Sep 8, 2020
An Asia inspired garden with an outdoor pool surrounded by Japanese and Chinese plants.
© Taylor Simpson
When you think of the far east, your mind jumps to the amazing gardens created by the Japanese and Chinese. Gardens of peace and tranquillity, a place where you can relax and enjoy the beauty and calm.

Water, stones and plants are key features to the far eastern garden, used to create simple, powerful eye-catching spaces. A space for quiet reflection, with smells and sounds that are both beautiful and meaningful. Here, we take a look at key features and how you can be inspired to create your own serene far eastern inspired space.


The use of water is important. Whether you opt for a pond filled with lily pads and exotic foliage, or a simple water feature, water is used in far-eastern gardens to symbolise living and constantly changing nature.


Stones are also an important feature, symbolising strength and stability in both Japanese and Chinese gardens. Edging stones or gravel pathways to create a guided way through the features of the garden can be a simple way yet beautiful touch. A statement ornament or combining the use of stones into your water feature may be another way to go.  


Lastly, your choice of plants and bushes will bring together your far-east inspired garden to add texture, beauty and meaning.  Careful use of planting will bring your garden to life, creating the natural tranquil space that you can relax and enjoy. Gravel around the base of feature plants provides an opportunity to use stones and maybe mirror the use elsewhere.

Far eastern gardens do not feature a huge number of flowering plants, but those chosen should give balance and texture to the other garden features.  Bamboo, symbolising purity, whether in planting or screening will add to the far eastern theme. 

Plants are also chosen for their beauty and meaning. Many of the plants will grow equally well in European climates. Japanese Maples, which come in a wide variety of colours, can be chosen to complement the flowering plants such as Orchids, Magnolias, Azaleas, and Chrysanthemums.  Pines and topiaries ‘big bonsai’ add interest or focal points.

Size and space

Size and garden space will make a difference to how you place key features, so consider drawing out your garden to plan where everything will go.  You may have the space to create many areas, with winding pathways, hidden gems as you are drawn into the garden, if not and your space is small, you can still use features, heights and colours to create a beautiful and far eastern inspired space.

There are some fundamental differences in the use of water and building features in Japanese and Chinese gardens, so you can experiment, combine and build your own Far East inspired garden to suit the styles you love best.

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