Concepts For A Modern Japanese Courtyard

by Ben Bowen

The home is modern. Space is limited and includes both concrete and wood deck surfaces. There is very little soil to work with. Can a space like this be transformed into a Japanese-inspired garden gathering space?

Here are some concepts that, used properly, can transform the space as desired.


Elements shown here will translate well to a modern front courtyard where space and soil are limited.

The concept: There was an old Japanese garden in place that predated your home. Your deck fills in space around what remains of this garden. Beds that flank your front entry display artifacts (living and otherwise) from that garden. 

Key Elements: A large moss studded boulder grouping, anchored by a tall vertical stone, will own the SE corner of the space. Perhaps the wall/fence can terminate into (not simply at) this grouping. A small water feature will be located in the NE corner. This could take many forms, but I see it as a ‘tsukubai’ (Japanese hand washing station). Key plantings will be pines that have been pruned and shaped in the Japanese style and bamboo. The pines will be dramatic focal points wile the bamboo will blend the other key features together.

There are other elements or concepts show below as well, but these would be accents, or perhaps would not make into your final design at all.

(View the Ideabook on Houzz)