Oriental landscaping, when done by someone familiar with its design elements, creates a sense of serenity, relaxing seldom achieved by any other form of landscaping. And while most of us associate Oriental landscaping with the Pacific Rim countries, its ability to transform small back yards into relaxing retreats is making it more and more popular with American homeowners. When designing an Oriental landscaping, the key is keeping the look simple and understated. You should not fill the entire space with plants and other landscaping materials. Instead, focus on a few focal points and add smaller or less obvious complementary pieces to balance out the look. Rocks are an important feature in Oriental landscaping, but there are a variety of ways to incorporate them in your design. For a traditional look, create a Japanese style rock garden by placing an odd-numbered grouping of rocks in a triangular shape on a bed of gravel or sand. You can add groundcover like thyme or mondo grass in small areas or leave the garden devoid of greenery.
Like rocks, water is a key element in Oriental landscaping. A koi pond is probably the most traditional option, but it does require quite a bit of space and maintenance. You can pair your pond with a small waterfall so your yard is filled with the soothing sounds of trickling water. In a smaller yard, a fountain may be a better option. Look for a bamboo and stone style to give your landscape the simple, natural look that Oriental landscaping requires.