If your idea of perfect, peaceful tranquility is a Japanese water garden full of large Koi fish swimming lazily through the water, then you're in luck, as we're about to explore some simple, easy steps that can start you on the path of building your own personal Japanese water garden.
Probably the most important element of any Japanese water garden is a very simple one: silence. The quieter, the better, as much of the tranquility of the Japanese water garden comes from the reflective nature of sitting in a quiet, hushed environment.
While most of us are blessed (or you know, cursed) with neighbors, you can use natural elements such as plants, trees, fences, and boulders to create an intimate space wholesale standing hot and cold that blocks out much of the surrounding noise. Find the quietest area of your yard and keep an eye out for ways to landscape it so that as little noise as possible filters through.
Another key element in Japanese water gardens are distinctive decorative elements. Most pond supply stores stock common items such as bamboo, dwarf pines, stone lanterns, boulders, stepping stones, and gravel, all of which evoke a Japanese feel.
High stone walls, bamboo screens, and weathered wood are other distinctive features which can be incorporated into your garden with great success. If you need design and decorative ideas, simply browse the Internet or any number of books devoted to water gardens in general, as nearly all of them feature more than a few Japanese water gardens.
Once you've narrowed down what you want in your Japanese water garden, its time to sketch out the general layout of your design. if you plan on including fish and water plants, be sure that the design accommodates it, as not all gardens are equally suited for fish or plant life.
Pay attention, too, to the plants and trees that you incorporate, with an eye towards not just how they'll look immediately, when you plant them, but whether or not they have room to grow and spread over the years. While some of your design elements will be fairly static (decks, wood, stones, etc.), other elements will be much more fluid and organic, so be sure to allow for the natural evolution of your Japanese water garden over time.