Proline Fencing & Landscapes

Japanese Zen Garden: Asian Style Pagoda or Pergola?

Garden structures are a popular way to add extra style to the space and a Pergola or Pagoda can be a fun way to provide some shelter. The style of structure you use will depend on the type of gardening you do. For example, a Zen Garden lends itself to a Pagoda more than other structures.

Every garden needs a nice space to sit and think. Whether this is a gazebo, another building or just an overgrown corner in the shade, a spot to sit is just the thing after a stressful day.

What is a Pagoda?


There is a distinct difference between a Pagoda and a Pergola. A Pagoda is a sturdier building that features a roof with multiple eaves and pointed "horns" on the corners of the roof. These are said to keep evil spirits away and in the Zen Garden, where feng shui is used, this is particularly important.

The Pagoda can be found in a number of countries, including China, Korea, Japan, India, Nepal and Vietnam, among others. Originally, the majority of these buildings were used for religious purposes, but the style is now used for many purposes, including garden structures.

Pagodas are usually built of wood, but can be heavily decorated and are usually painted. The colour depends on the country it originated from, but red and black are common choices.

What is a Pergola?


The Pergola is a much simpler structure, usually with open or latticed sides and a lattice or beam roof that allows plants to grow up it. When the plants have completely covered the Pergola, it provides excellent shade and can be a nice refuge on hot days.

Pergolas are most often made of wood and may be left unfinished or painted. Unfinished offers a more natural look and is easy to cover up with the greenery that climbs it, while white provides a fresh, clean background to the plants.

A little bench set in the shade makes an inviting little corner of the garden.

Which Design to Choose

Any climbing plant will work nicely with either of these designs, so it is often a matter of taste when it comes to choosing one or the other. Asian Style gardens will usually do best with a Pagoda, since it is more traditional. For this reason, you will frequently see these in Zen Gardens, which usually have a japanese focus.

The purpose of the structure will also determine which you choose. Are you looking for a spot of shade? A place to grow climbing roses? An enclosed or an open space? All of this should be taken into account when deciding exactly what to place in a garden.

Whether you opt for a Pergola or a Pagoda, your garden will benefit from having something to draw the eye and create a bit of height. Everything from a Zen Garden to a simpler gardening style will work with these structures and they are relatively easy to build yourself or find online. If you want to tackle a DIY project, but aren't sure of your skills, then a kit may be the best way to go.