How to Create a Miniature Japanese Garden

Written by jennifer uhl
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How to Create a Miniature Japanese Garden
A miniature Japanese garden can be as simple or complex as you like. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Japanese gardens exemplify concepts of tranquillity, peace and beauty using a combination of plant life, hardscape elements like walls and bridges and even animal life in the form of koi and goldfish ponds. Miniature Japanese gardens can offer the same combination of elements, but on a much smaller scale. Because they take up significantly less space, you can build one virtually anywhere.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Garden container
  • Growing medium
  • Miniature plants or seeds
  • Gel medium
  • Decorative tiles or pebbles
  • Coloured sand
  • Hardscape elements

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  1. 1

    Sketch out the basic layout for your Japanese garden. Use this sketch to determine what materials you will need and how large your finished garden is going to be. The plants or miniature trees you decide to cultivate will impact the container size you use, for example.

  2. 2

    Create a detailed shopping list for everything you need to create your miniature garden. Include the container, seeds or miniature plants, natural elements and any tools that you need. Natural elements may include sand, moss, pebbles, soil and water. Consider adding hardscape elements such as miniature bridges, tiles or stepping stones, fences and walls.

  3. 3

    Install live elements first. Fill the garden container with growing medium, providing enough depth to suit your bonsai tree or miniature plants. Dampen the growing medium without allowing it to become flooded. Gel medium is beneficial here as it can absorb and retain water for the plants without allowing the container to become too wet. Once your plants are in place, you can design the rest of the Japanese garden.

  4. 4

    Trace out paths and borders using tiles or sand. Use different colours of sand to simulate different types of paths. Artificial sand colours work well to simulate grass or water. Use dollhouse elements or other miniatures to recreate a Japanese garden on a miniature scale, such as tiny ceramic koi fish or wooden bridges.

  5. 5

    Tend to the live elements of your Japanese miniature garden as per the individual plants' requirements. Provide adequate water to the plants to keep the soil moist without flooding the miniature garden.

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