25 Calming Japanese Garden Ideas On A Budget

For some people, having a conventional garden is enough, but for people who are so into Japan, you can create a calming Japanese garden through these ideas but still on a budget. You just have to understand the key elements to build a Japanese garden. Creating a zen spot is a must. No need for full plants since Japanese garden ideas focus on beauty and a balanced layout with other elements. So, it fits for you who are looking for a simple yet meaningful garden to escape from your busy activities for a while. 

Also, you can adjust if you want to build it in your front yard or backyard. Furthermore, if you only have a limited space, you still can release your creativity to build the Zen garden.

Just check out the ideas here about how to make the garden!

Japanese Garden Ideas for Front Yard

Having a beautiful garden in your front yard is very attractive and interesting to see, not only for you, but for your neighbor. You can build a pond, a mini waterfall, or set up the garden gate that is iconic to Japanese style.

Take a look here and find your inspiration to recharge your energy with different views. 

1. Complete Elements

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@buildajapanesegarden.com)

An essential element that must be available in Japanese garden design is water.

By providing water that can go through the bamboo and a concrete water basin, you already can feel the calming garden similar to what you find in Japan. Don’t forget to add the small rocks and bigger stones. Because Japanese inspired gardens cannot miss any stone as the main element too. 

2. Garden Gate

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@Welsh Slate Water Features)

Guests can feel the Japanese vibe instantly by seeing the main entrance ‘Torii’ that you can provide with wood material. Yes, Japanese gardens usually have a gate to set the boundaries between your house and your own garden.

It also lets you escape to your Zen session once you enter the garden. Adding the pathway will give another sensation to explore your own plants in the garden. 

3. Bridge On The Garden

Bridge On The Garden
Source: Pinterest (@A Piece of Rainbow)

Although the size of your garden is not that spacious, you still can decorate your garden with Japanese style. The small Japanese garden like this one is still calming and pretty easy to create, because you only need a miniature pagoda, big stones as the pathways, river rocks to throw and wood as the small bridge.

Toddlers must be in love with the bridge since they can walk through it and feel a quite different experience compared to the garden with only stone pathways. 

4. Calming Zen Garden

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@homify.co.uk)

While we mentioned the bridge for a small garden before, this idea is for the spacious garden that you want to make a Japanese garden as your Zen garden. This is suitable for your backyard.

Again, providing the water is a must. So, you can create a medium size pond and build a bridge to cross the pond. As the fish lovers, having koi can add the Zen vibe inside your garden along with the green plants you already have there. 

5. Pond of Koi 

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@blog.gardenloversclub.com)

A bonsai, green plant, pagoda pillar and pond koi can be your best layout in order to create a garden design based on Japanese style. This can be your Japanese garden on a budget for your front yard, if only you really want to build it along with your own house.

So, you can start it all based on your wants including the gate entrance that is still related to the Japan vibe. If your budget is still available, you can add a mini waterfall as the waterstream for your koi. 

6. Bamboo Water

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@Paul Tamate)

The signature Japanese inspired garden is the mini pillar of the pagoda that you can use to put the lamp as well. Don’t forget a water basin that is made of ceramic or concrete, you are free to choose, but it is better to get it with a natural color.

Moreover, Zen garden without any stones seems incomplete. Therefore, getting a space to build the pathways is a must. It is very functional for you to feel calmer, especially in the morning.

7. Small Space Garden

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@Decoration Blog)

A very limited space doesn’t stop you from getting a Zen spot in your house. You can choose Japanese maple to be planted in a pot like this, various mosses for your wooden pots, and of course, small rocks along the plants.

You can use your patio if the space is very limited yet the result is very amazing. Moreover, if you use the parquet tile, it supports this look optimally. 

8. Mini Stream

Mini Stream
Source: Pinterest (@Build A Japanese Garden)

Such a stunning waterstream as the Zen spot in your garden. Japanese maple trees, moss and other small shrubs are there to fill the garden.

If you think that the garden is full of flowers, it is hard to find the full content of plants in the Japanese style garden. Because different elements that Japan brings to the garden lets you unleash your creativity to create your own garden on a budget but still inspired by the Japanese garden vibe. It is a very beautiful corner for your front yard. 

9. Green Garden

Green Garden
Source: Pinterest (@Plant Care Today)

A garden full of shrubs but in a beautiful shape, so our eyes will get spoiled everyday. Adding a lamp house with a pagoda shaped on the corner, so it can be used for lighting at night.

This look is very simple, still green and fresh, and the style of Japan can be seen directly through the pagoda. This design is for you, who focus on something green without having to add the water element as the center of the garden.

10. Rocky Stream

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@calgogardens.com)

You might think it is not a garden by seeing the design, but still, it is a Japanese garden. Because in Japan, a garden is not only about the plants, but also the elements inside. Therefore, having this waterstream on your pond from the stone is very recommended.

You can have some koi fish too, since koi are believed to bring luck to your life. The plant can be planted zigzag, so the pond can be seen beautifully from afar. It is one of the best layouts for your front yard to welcome the guest.

11. Buddhist Temple

Buddhist Temple
Source: Pinterest (@pinterest.co.uk)

Hakone grass, Buddha statue, pagoda, moss, and some small Hostas in this beautiful garden. The space is like a container plant, but this can be your best corner to have a fresh view every day directly from your house.

Japanese gardens insist on an eye-catching layout instead of filling the garden with various plants. Also, while the sunlight exposing your plant in the morning, you can see how beautiful the silhouette view of this corner is.

12. A Gate To Heaven

A Gate To Heaven
Source: Pinterest (@jmgardendesign.co.uk)

This layout will remind you of some animation movies from Ghibli. The entrance feels magical and it really suits the spacious garden. You may think it will cost too much, but look again, the elements are not too much.

You just have to add the circle entrance that is made of wood or concrete, then if your plants are already set, you can put some miniatures to decorate your garden into something more fresh and stunning. Simple, right?

13. Iconic Garden Gate

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@fromhousetohome.com)

Having a beautiful garden and want to turn it into Japanese style? Easy, people! Simply add Torii gate as the entrance of your garden. Don’t forget to add a pagoda pillar, you can choose the decoration that has the same height as the gate.

By only adding those two items, your guest will amaze and think that you are so into Japan and the garden is built very detailed. In fact, you just have additional items to create different vibes.

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Japanese Garden Ideas for Backyard

A Japanese garden in the backyard is very suitable. It also adds a private space for your house and gives you another sensation while you need a relaxing place to release your stress. You can have it even if your space is small and limited.

Choose your elements and find your inner peace here!

14. Japanese Zen Garden Ideas

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@agreenhand.com)

Are you looking for a Japanese garden idea on a budget? Then get this design for your house. The major element is stone.

Either the big one, small rocks, and the shaped one that you can adjust as the pagoda. Adding bamboo as the fence will be a good idea too! You don’t have to grow too many plants because the key to get the Japanese style is simplicity.

15. Calming Japanese Backyard Garden

Calming Japanese Backyard Garden
Source: Pinterest (@etsy.com)

If you look carefully, you can see the pavilion beside the garden. Yes, if you still have space, you can build a simple pavilion for you to enjoy your own garden. Japanese people like to sit down, and relax while drinking a cup of hot green tea and see beautiful gardens in their backyard like this.

This one has a complete look since there is bamboo as the water stream to deter the deer since the deer doesn’t like the sudden sound from the bamboo, water basin, stone pathway, pagoda, and flowering shrubs.

Is it beautiful? Yes, it is! Is it calming? Say, no more.

16. Red Bridge

Red Bridge
Source: Pinterest (@Алина)

A place for a short escape to forget about your tiring activity for a while. This Japanese garden landscape, complete with a red bridge will remind you of a beauty park in Japan.

If you already built the pond, you can put this bridge above it. It not only excites you, but also your kids. Especially if there are fish inside the pond, you can feed it by standing on the bridge.

17. Rocky Water Basin

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@modernzengarden.com)

A small corner but full of fresh green, a big stone that is used as a water basin, bamboo, and miniature pagoda that you can put a lamp inside as the lighting of your garden.

Since the pond is not that big, you can grow water plants instead of fish inside. Still stunning and calming, especially if you can add the statue on the corner. It is not only pretty but also rustic at the same time.

18. Japan Mini Waterfall Ideas

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@Build A Japanese Garden)

It is a very pretty garden with calming colors of plants. Set the pond and the border of your garden with stone or brick.

You can build the waterfall if you want, but it is okay if you just fill the pond with water only without any water stream. It fits in the backyard to add the Zen spot to your house.

19. Signature Japanese Temple

Signature Japanese Temple
Source: Pinterest (@flickr.com)

If your backyard is not that big but you want to use it for optimal function, then turn your limited backyard to this one. As for people who are so into Japan, this can be your healing spot.

You can put the chair in front of the garden, so it can be exactly on the porch. Placing the small size of plants, lamp, stones and wood fence. It is very astonishing.

20. Colorful Plant for Japanese Garden

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@Rastlinky.sk)

The spacious one, not too many elements, but another color, instead of green can be seen. On the edge of the pond, you can plant and put the stones. It can function to reflect yourself as the day goes by.

Yes, Japanese gardens are very identical to something that reflects ourselves and our life. Therefore, providing water inside the garden is the main point. This fits for your backyard, so it can give you another spot to heal.

21. Spacious Japanese Garden

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Spacious Japanese Garden

If your plants are inside the container plants, and you want to increase different styles for it, then go with this design. Build a big pathway from stone, add the fence from wood or bamboo, and add some Japanese maple trees to create different layers between the plants.

So, the Japan vibe will be felt instantly without having too much improvisation from your existing garden. It is still on budget and not taking too much effort for you.

22. Bamboo water stream

Bamboo water stream
Source: Pinterest (@Katarína Janík)

Although there is no water basin, you can have a big stone as a substitute for a water basin.

Actually, it is not for storing the water, it is just placed for adding the element in your Zen garden. Don’t forget to add the moss, grass and the water stream if you like to hear water drop from the bamboo since it is very calming and healing for us.

23. Along the fence

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@ArchitectureArtDesigns)

When you want to have a garden, but you don’t want to miss the green lawn, you can check this idea. For the garden space, you can throw the stones as the border, then plant your own plants such as bamboo, bonsai, and other flowers to beautify the look.

You don’t have to fill the garden with plants until it looks full, but consider making a space between the plants, elements like stones, and some art decorations like this mini temple. 

24. Temple Miniature

Temple Miniature
Source: Pinterest (@Aleksei Paw)

Instead of having a big space for the garden, in fact, for a Japanese garden, you can have this inexpensive design for your house. Miniature pagoda, shrub flower, stones, and moss.

Although it seems simple, after you create it, you can feel a different spot throughout your house. Moreover, if you already set a bamboo fence. It will add another ambience that brings you a new healing experience when you cannot go anywhere. 

25. Bushy Japanese Garden

japanese garden ideas on a budget
Source: Pinterest (@dangergarden.blogspot.com)

Bamboo fence, a water basin made of ceramic, small stones below the water basin, and simple evergreen with not that big size can be an idea for layouting in your house. Only by seeing at a glance, you know it will give you a new atmosphere for your front yard.

You can create it in the corner, so it can be your instant spot to recharge your energy. If you want to add a miniature pagoda with a lamp inside, it will be a good one too. 

Final Thought

In the realm of Japanese gardens, simplicity meets elegance, proving that beauty isn’t bound by budget. Resourceful choices, like repurposed materials and native plants, can craft an authentic sanctuary. It’s the intention behind each element that evokes genuine tranquility. As you embark on this garden journey, remember: a limited budget can still capture boundless Zen. Let these cost-effective ideas be your first step to creating a serene escape.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do you make a simple Japanese garden?

First, you can make a layout and then decide which elements you want to add inside the garden. Also, you have to think which plants are suitable for your garden including your zones. Try to fit the characteristics, temperature and the theme. You don’t have to choose the complicated plants, just something simple, fresh, and green is enough. 

What plants are best for a Japanese garden?

Hosta, Azalea, and Japanese maple trees are the best plants for Japanese gardens. The shape is easy to trim. The flowers are beautiful, also the maple tree has a stunning color to add the accent for your garden. 

What are the 3 essential elements of a Japanese garden?

The plant of course, the water to calm the environment and stone. Those three elements are often found in Japanese gardens. You can input all of them or only one or two of them, there is nothing wrong with it. The water can be a streaming water or just a water in the pond. 

What kind of flowers are in a Japanese garden?

Sango-kaku and the plants of Hostas are suitable for Japanese gardens. The beauty of these flowers are undeniable. Also, it is a low maintenance flower that you can grow in your backyard. 

How do you arrange rocks in a Japanese garden?

For the big stones, you can use it as the waterfall and the pathways. Then, for the smaller size of stones, like river rocks or gravel, you can throw it along the edge of the pond or you can create a mosaic in the garden to decorate your own garden in a natural way. 

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