Japanese style landscape design water fountain and koi pond

This Japanese-style landscape design uses grass, plants and a koi pond to get the look

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With its clever use of plants, colour and tranquil koi pond, this Japanese-style landscape design offers places of peace and sanctuary

Having commissioned a modern, architect-designed home with Japanese influenced interiors, the owners sought a Japanese-style landscape design to match — one that would have a koi fish pond. Adrian Swain, Director of ecodesign, worked closely with the project architect to develop a design that would complement the architectural style of the home and work with the sloping site.

“We explored several options for creating a sense of arrival and facilitating entry to the ground floor of the two-storey home. Our goal was to create a journey through the landscape that would take in the front, side and rear gardens; also a pond area,” says Adrian.

The hard landscaping emulates the finishes used in the home’s façade, such as the dark grey (Dulux Raku) acrylic render used on the lower portion of the home and the even darker grey (Dulux Monument) custom fabricated, powdercoated metal elements. To complement the facade, flamed Black Granite paving flows from the residence to the landscape.

The soft landscaping evokes a Japanese stroll garden with tufted grasses such as Poa ‘Eskdale’, Liriope muscari and Lomandra ‘Tanika’ popping up through swathes of low groundcovers such as Myoporum, Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ and native violet. Mounded plantings of plants such as Buxus, Philodendron ‘Xanadu’, Rhododendron ‘Kirin’ Strobilanthes gossypinus, Loropetalum ‘Burgundy’and Raphiolepis ‘Oriental Pearl’ were positioned to emulate rock placements.

The boundaries are screened by slender weaver’s bamboo, Timor black bamboo and Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’ while views across the garden have been framed — or punctuated — with striking small trees such as Acer ‘Senkaki’ and Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’. Cloud-pruned Acer dissectum ‘Purpureum’ and Pinus nigra ably serve as feature plantings and are complemented by accent plantings of Crinum edunculatum, Anenome x hybrida, Miscanthus ‘Zebrina’ and Sansevieria ‘Moonlight’.

“The tranquil koi pond, which adjoins the outdoor entertaining area, is the primary feature and can be viewed from all internal living areas. The pond presented many challenges but the most pressing was the need to achieve pool fence compliance while also maintaining a strong visual link between the pond and home. This was achieved by the use of frameless glass fencing,” says Adrian.
At night, the pond is enhanced by LED underwater lighting and strip lighting beneath the adjacent floating bench seat. Elsewhere in the garden there are step lights, path lights and uplighting to feature trees.

“Another special feature is the bin storage area which incorporates a green roof with shallow soil and low-growing succulent plantings. This was designed to subtly integrate with the architecture and be viewed from the balconies above,” adds Adrian.

In the 2020 AILDM National Landscape Design Awards, this garden won Gold in the Plantscape category with the judges saying: “Repeated use of silver and grey plants at the entrance and repeated through the garden adds a serene mood. Details around the koi pond are exceptional. This is simply beautiful.”

For more information

Ecodesign

This project is an entrant in the Outdoor Design 2022 NSW Landscaper of the Year Awards, celebrating residential design innovation and construction excellence. All entrants were featured in Outdoor Design Issue 42, with winners to be announced in Outdoor Design Issue 43.