Japanese Zen Garden

6 Japanese Zen Garden Decor Ideas To Try

The ultimate goal for many looking to landscape their gardens, is to create an outdoor space that inspires peace and serenity. That’s why the Japanese zen garden style is so widely adored across the globe, including here in Australia.

There are many benefits to transforming your backyard into a Japanese zen garden. For starters, the zen garden style is the perfect home for many garden decor items, from modern water features, to charming statues. There are also many ways that you can design and lay out your Japanese zen garden, meaning that you can feel free to make the space your very own.

So what options are available to you when it comes to designing your Japanese zen garden? We’ll be sharing 6 garden decor ideas to help transform your backyard space into your very own serene and striking Japanese zen garden, which includes: 

Japanese Zen Garden

Rock and stone elements

Japanese zen gardens can actually be the perfect setting to plant drought-tolerant plants, thanks to their typically sandy or rocky terrain. If you are hoping to create your own life-sized sand garden to be raked to your heart’s content, then it’s definitely worthwhile adding some rock and river stone elements to complete the look.

This is where our nature-inspired rock water features will be sure to shine. Boasting natural materials like river driftwood, stone, and desert rocks, this collection of water features will help add a dynamic sense of both contrast and unity to your Japanese garden space. How so? As sand is produced by the weathering down of rocks and stones, these rock water features can help signify the natural passing of time in your Japanese zen garden. The end result will be a space that naturally helps you feel centred, present, and connected to the natural world in all its millions of years of evolution.

Buddha water features

Speaking of feeling connected to the world around you, Taoist and Buddhist teachings and imagery also tend to be given positions of honour in traditional Japanese zen gardens. For this reason, it’s fairly common to see Buddha figures that are surrounded by or adorned with natural elements.

This phenomenon is part of the inspiration behind our Buddha water features here at Fountain Store. The peaceful figure of the meditative Buddha coupled with the ambient sound of flowing water can help add an extra dimension of serenity to your Japanese zen garden. Our expansive selection of Buddha features also includes a range of different materials, including stone, bronze, and GRC (glass reinforced concrete), just to name a few. Simply select a feature that best complements the other elements in your Japanese zen garden space.

Japanese Zen Garden

Multi-drop fountains

There’s no denying that playing with the elements is the key to creating a dynamic garden space. This rings especially true to Japanese zen gardens, which are often characterised by their ability to combine both the natural and man-made worlds. Because of this innate characteristic, Japanese zen gardens already possess a certain dimensionality that can be further enhanced by playing with different levels in your garden space.

In other words, you should look for opportunities to play with the placement of your garden decor, both horizontally and vertically. For example, garden pond features can be a great way of juxtaposing grainy sand beds with flowing water. Similarly, multi-drop fountains can also be used to add a natural verticality that contrasts against tall garden trees like Japanese maples, and other more solid vertical elements. Just be sure that you’re maintaining a sense of balance between both your horizontal and vertical elements, just as you should between your natural and man-made elements. 

Paper collage wall art

Just like the Japanese art of origami paper folding, Japanese zen gardens are renowned for their ability to draw together hard and soft elements in perfect harmony. Stones meet sand, just as trees meet winding streams in the most thoughtfully designed and curated zen garden spaces. With this in mind, it’s only fitting that your own Japanese zen garden includes some paper collage wall art to help inspire harmony between all of your garden’s natural and man-made elements. 

Our selection of paper collage art pays homage to the natural world through using repurposed paper materials, with the end product being a complex, eye-catching artwork that’s sure to complement any Japanese zen garden space. You can also select which animals, plants, or insects feature in your paper collages. Our Flower Tiger Collage Art is sure to pair well with this particular garden decor theme.

Serene statues

Not all zen gardens have to be traditionally Japanese. In truth, the concept of ‘zen’ can be highly personal to you. If you’d prefer to create a garden space that’s more zen for your purposes and is aligned with your own values, then you can opt to remove all eastern spiritual imagery for garden decor that honours the natural world and perhaps other cultural connections.

If you’d like to avoid using Budda figures or other religious or spiritual imagery in your Japanese zen garden, then you could simply incorporate garden statues that inspire a sense of zen within you. We have a collection of nature-inspired garden statues that can help anchor your zen garden firmly in the natural world, allowing you to connect with nature and enjoy the peace and serenity that simply comes from being present. You can select between whimsical statues of animals like horses, rabbits, and elephants, all of which are accompanied by their own spiritual and cultural connections. Or you could incorporate garden statues that honour the innate flexibility and versatility of the human form. 

Mirrored reflections with stainless steel fountains

Last but certainly not least, one of the most quintessential elements of a Japanese zen garden is that they’re the perfect space for reflection and introspection. You ideally want your Japanese zen garden to be a space that you can escape to, just to be with your own thoughts and sit with yourself. So it stands to reason that garden decor with reflective surfaces or other mirrored elements will work perfectly well with your other Japanese zen garden decor. 

Any of our stainless steel fountains will undoubtedly look right at home in your modern Japanese zen garden space. Alongside providing a reflective element to mirror the personal reflections you’re likely to experience in the zen atmosphere of your garden, these modern fountains can also help create additional dimensionality and contrast between any water features like ponds or streams that are included in the designs of your Japanese zen garden. 


Whether you utilise all the garden decor ideas we’ve outlined above or just one or two that resonate with you most, chances are your Japanese zen garden will provide all the peace and escape you need. Just remember that like the passing of time and the changing of the seasons, your zen garden is not at all static and will naturally evolve. So long as your design methods are mindful and true to your idea of zen, your Japanese zen garden project will surely be a success.Visit Fountain Store today to find inspiration with decor ideas to try for your Japanese zen garden.