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45 Elegant Chinese Garden Ideas

Chinese gardens provide a place of peace and serenity for busy people who require much-needed respite from a noisy, stress-filled world. If this is what you’re aiming for, but you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help!

It’s important to plan out your garden carefully before you begin. Most Chinese gardens include architecture of some kind – a water feature or a rock garden, and, of course, plants. 

Let’s take a look at some options for your garden!

1. Green dominance

Chinese gardens usually contain a variety of plants to provide beauty for each season. Stones can indicate stability and strength, so it’s important to include some in your garden. 

A Chinese-inspired garden filled with a variety of plants with stones

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2. Oriental garden with bridge

If you’re not keen on adding a water feature (like a garden pond), incorporate a dry stone river bed into your garden design. You could even include an oriental-style bridge to cross it. 

Oriental garden with a wooden bridge

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3. Bridge on wooden deck

Or go for the real thing with this dramatic stone water feature and decorative bridge. 

Bridge on wooden deck with a dramatic stone water feature

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4. Bamboo and gravel

Bamboo will give your garden an oriental look and make a great backdrop for a Chinese garden. Add some garden pebble decorations, like a pagoda, to complete the look.

Bamboo and gravel giving off an oriental look and a great backdrop for a Chinese garden

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5. Feng shui modern garden

If you prefer a more spacious, open garden, try going for more minimalist decorations, focusing on the plants and trees.

Feng shui modern garden with an open set-up and spacious space

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6. Lots of colour

When choosing plants for your Chinese garden, you could include Acers (Japanese maple) and bamboo, and even a bonsai tree. 

A variety of colourful plants including Acres and bonsai trees

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7. Pond and small waterfall

A water feature is often the focal point of a Chinese garden. Nothing helps you relax more than the peaceful sound of running water. 

Pond and small waterfall as the focal point in this Chinese garden

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8. Moon gate and path

This circular archway is traditionally called a Moon Gate, and is thought to offer good fortune to those who pass through it. The use of trellis for the surrounding fencing allows light to pass through, giving a feeling of further openness. 

Moon shaped gate and stone garden path

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9. DIY garden pagoda

If you’re on a tight budget, get creative to design your own pagoda using items you already have, such as leftover paving slabs and stones.

DIY garden pagoda made from leftover paving slabs and stones

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10. Oriental pavilion 

If you have the space, install a Chinese-style pavilion to provide a place for reflection and to escape the sun’s harsh rays.

A garden with a Chinese-style pavilion

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11. Perfectly trimmed plants

Bonsai trees can be seen as symbols of harmony, balance, patience or luck. Many people simply use them as living ornaments for interior design and in zen gardens.

While Zen Buddhists believe they are an object of meditation or contemplation. 

Perfectly trimmed plants in a Zen-style outdoor space

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12. Oriental corner with fountain

If you’re short on space or only want to dedicate a corner of your garden, add a simple water feature and pagoda decoration, with some neatly trimmed Chinese plants.  

Oriental corner garden with a small fountain

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13. Pond and plants

Create a natural-looking pond edged with rocks and surrounded by Chinese plants and decorations to transform the look of your garden. This concept is perfect for large gardens.

A natural-looking pond edged with rocks and surrounded by Chinese plants and decorations

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14. Narrow Chinese backyard

Even if you don’t have much space, you can still create a Chinese garden to be proud of. Add plenty of neatly trimmed trees and rocks, but remember to leave yourself a pathway so you can admire your handiwork. 

Narrow Chinese backyard with plenty of neatly trimmed trees and rocks

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15. Bush and rock garden

Rocks are a key element of Chinese gardens. It’s easy to create your own rock garden in an existing flower bed.

Just arrange the rocks to look like a mountain landscape, with irregular positions and different heights. 

Bush and rock garden as the key elements in this Chinese garden

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16. Amazing bridge

If you have the space for a spectacular bridge like this one, then go for it!

A a spectacular bridge above a pond, surrounded by plants and trees

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17. Gravel and bridge

Or create a rock creek and a dry gravel garden space and place a bridge over it for a great effect. Use stone pagodas and Chinese trees for decoration. 

A rock creek and a dry gravel garden space under a garden bridge

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18. Stepping stones on river

If your river or creek is shallow, you could add some stepping stones to cross it. Add a large stone pagoda as a focal point. 

Stepping stones on river with a large stone pagoda as a focal point

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19. Garden moon gate

This more traditional stone moon gate provides the perfect entrance for a Chinese garden. It gives a beautiful snapshot of the garden beyond. 

Garden moon gate made with traditional stone

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20. Wooden deck next to tree

You could add a large singular tree as a focal point and allow it space to grow naturally, without crowding it with other plants or trees. 

Wooden deck next to tree

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21. Chinese pergola with DIY stepping stones

If you’re a creative person with time to spare, you could craft personalised stepping stones with some pebbles (and plenty of patience).

Chinese pergola with DIY stepping stones

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22. Floating path

Instead of the traditional Chinese bridge, you could add a stepping stone path across your pond. 

A traditional Chinese bridge with a stepping stone path

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23. Backyard river

Build your backyard deck inspired by Chinese architecture and enjoy sunsets by the river.

A backyard river with a Chinese inspired architecture and deck

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24. Stone pagoda

Use stone pagodas as decorations to give your Chinese garden a traditional look. 

Stone pagodas as garden decorations

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25. Meditation stone

You could use stones shaped like the sun and moon to enhance your rock garden. 

Sun and moon shaped meditation stone

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26. Neat bonsai trees

You should raise your bonsai up so you can see them, so these columns are perfect to create a focal point in your garden and also make the bonsai easier to maintain.

Neat bonsai trees as a focal point in the garden

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27. Black pebble river

Add some decorative bridges to a dry river bed made of pebbles, to create an amazing outdoor space with close to no maintenance.

Black pebble river with some decorative bridges

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28. Moon door for side garden

Great for the entrance to your private side garden and to achieve a Chinese effect.

Moon door for side garden adding a Chinese-style effect

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29. Succulent porch garden

Large succulent pots are a great way to add some colour to your patio area in a simple, portable way. 

Succulent porch garden

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30. Chinese red pavilions with pond

Paint your Chinese pavilions in a bright colour to bring your garden to life. They provide a place to rest and get some shade.

Chinese red pavilions with pond

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31. Moon door in bamboo wall

It’s easy to craft a moon door into almost any type of wall. Bamboo is used in Chinese architecture and it’s relatively low cost and hardwearing, so it makes a great material for a wall or fence.

Moon door in bamboo wall

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32. Pagoda garden ornament

Pagodas are great for adding some appeal to your Chinese garden. You could even add some candles for some lighting.

Pagoda garden ornament adding some appeal

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33. Small Asian garden with stepping stones

You don’t need a huge space to create your own relaxing Chinese garden. Just keep it simple with a rock garden and a few Chinese plants, like bamboo. 

Small Asian garden with stepping stones

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34. Tiny pebble pond

You can create water features of any shape and size in your garden, even a shallow one like this example if you don’t have much space. 

Tiny pebble pond

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35. Chinese privet

You can still have a privet style hedgerow with a Chinese garden; this example uses a variegated form of Chinese ligustrum.

Chinese privet style hedgerow

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36. Wooden deck over black gravel

The use of gravel gives this Chinese garden a zen feel. The carefully raked patterns represent the natural flow of water, and the large rocks symbolise mountains. 

Wooden deck over black gravel

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37. Oriental umbrellas

Add an oriental touch to your seating area by adding a luxury garden parasol to get some relief from the hot sun. 

Oriental umbrellas to seating area adding a luxurious touch

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38. Chinese sculptures

You could add Chinese sculptured columns to your garden design to create a focal point. 

Chinese sculptures in columns

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39. Chinese trimmed bushes

Some nicely-shaped topiary are the perfect addition to a Chinese garden.

Chinese trimmed bushes

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40. Deck and trees

Chinese juniper trees are perfect for a garden centrepiece as they’re evergreen and don’t need watering very often. 

Deck and Chinese Juniper trees

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41. Single moon gate

A moon gate doesn’t have to be the entrance to your garden, it could just be a simple decoration to make your walkway more appealing. 

A simple single moon gate

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42. Tiny zen garden

You can still create a zen garden in a very small garden space, or even on a balcony. Just use small plants that can be easily maintained and add a small water feature to help you relax. 

Tiny zen garden with a small water feature

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43. Aluminium trellis panel

A trellis is a classic way to help your plants grow tall. This aluminium design would bring a contemporary vibe to your garden. 

Aluminium trellis panel for the plants

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44. Stone and pebble path

Chinese gardens often have natural, winding pathways that you can follow around the space. You could use stones and smaller pebbles to recreate this style in your own garden.

Stone and pebble garden path

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45. Red moon gate

Add some colour to your moon gate with a splash of red like this example. It creates an attractive entrance and provides a great view of the garden beyond.

Red moon gate creating an attractive entrance

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Round-up

You can bring Chinese inspiration into your garden just by using specific planting or creating a rock garden in your flower bed. Or you can start from scratch and give your space an overhaul to create a relaxing, peaceful garden you can enjoy. 

We hope our list of suggestions has helped give you some ideas for creating your own tranquil space to relax in after a busy day!

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