koi garden

Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels

If you are planning a fishpond, and are considering stocking it with koi, why not take the idea further and create a Japanese-style koi garden?

Since koi are Japanese in origin, these wonderfully decorative fish make the perfect focal point in a garden created in Japanese style. But in addition to all your fish pond supplies, you will also need to find suitable plants and a few accessories to create the style.

koi garden

Japanese Elements Help to Create a Koi Garden

The Japanese people have developed the art of gardening to the point of exquisite perfection with beautiful arrangements of rocks, stone, sand and, of course, water. They especially value the tranquility of water and often incorporate ponds and even small lakes into their gardens. Still water reflects the images of surrounding trees, shrubs, and on a clear night, the moon. But water also introduces movement and sound, with a trickling cascade or the gentle swish of the water as koi break above the surface of the pond water.

Ornamentation in a Japanese-style garden is minimal, but a stone lantern, and perhaps a water basin will look perfectly at home here. Stepping stones through the koi pond will also add to the style, as will a section of neatly raked sand or gravel, and some purposefully placed rocks alongside the pond.

koi garden
Use bamboo to create a natural screen

You can divide a larger area with open trelliswork or by planting bamboo so that it forms a natural screen alongside the koi pond, in this way defining the koi garden.

koi garden
Chrysanthemums are the national flower of Japan

The Japanese cedar is a hardy conifer that can also be used to define the area. If you want to plant flowers, choose them with care. Those that fit the style include evergreen camellias, azaleas, and chrysanthemums, which are the national flower of Japan. Fruit trees that blossom in spring will also add to the picture.

koi garden
Cherry blossom

The material you use to create the pond itself is not important, but generally a koi garden pond looks more effective if it looks reasonably natural. Since you will be keeping koi, you should also install a pump and a biological filter to keep the water clean, clear and healthy.

Planting in and around the water will look attractive and will also help to achieve a healthy balance of nature as insects, frogs and other small creatures will be attracted to the pond.

koi garden
A frog sits on a lily pad in a Japanese-style garden

Marginal plants grow naturally in shallow water, so you can place them on shelves within ponds. Various grasses, reeds, rushes and sedges will thrive and look the part.

A range of aquatic and floating plants, including water lilies, will also fit the style, but be warned that koi do tend to nibble plants. A compromise is to build a separate lily pond alongside the pond where you keep your koi, so that the lilies will thrive and flower.

Submerged oxygenators also help to maintain the delicate balance of nature by keeping the water clear. The fish will feed on them as well as using them as a place to spawn. For this reason it is best to allow the plants to establish themselves before you introduce koi to the pond.

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