Foreign influence gardens

Designing a foreign influence garden

If you’d like something a little different for your garden, it’s worth looking further afield for ideas. Different parts of the world employ different designs and use different plants and, by incorporating some of these ideas into your garden design, you can create something striking and unusual. We have worked with many clients to create a geographically different design, and here we look at five foreign influence garden designs: Japanese, Mediterranean, tropical, formal Italian and French. With so many ideas on offer, you’re sure to find something to inspire you!

Top tips for a foreign influenced garden

Take a look at our Top Tips for a wide variety of foreign influenced gardens from around the globe. See what inspires you for your garden!

Japanese gardens take their inspiration from Buddhist, Taoist and Zen philosophies and are peaceful places with a spiritual atmosphere. They use water, plants, rocks and sculptures to create gardens that fulfil several principles of Zen, including asymmetry, symbolism and balance. 

A Japanese-influenced garden design avoids straight lines and manmade materials and uses organic pathways to lead you from area to area, keeping surprises hidden around every corner. Stepping stone paths set into moss bedding or stone paths partly obscured by ground-covering plants create a more natural flow to the garden and this is enhanced by clever use of rock, gravel and bamboo. You’ll find little colour in a Japanese garden; instead, interest is created through subtle shades of green, architectural shapes and bold textures. Combining plants like acers, conifers, hostas and ornamental grasses creates interesting contrasts. 

Water is a very important feature of a Japanese garden – the trickle of a waterfall or stillness of a calm pool aids reflection and can also be a suitable home for goldfish or koi carp.

Tradition is very important in Japanese culture. Lanterns light shadier corners and you’ll often find a pagoda in place of a patio or summerhouse. You could even install a zig-zag bridge somewhere in your garden – it’s believed to trap evil spirits and keep you safe.