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Do you have any gardening design books? If not check your local library this will give you an idea and the look you would like to achieve. Japanese gardens do not have many flowering plant Maybe acers, conifers, stone and pebbles and maybe a bamboo to complete the look. try and incorporate some water even if its only a large tub. Its exciting this stage so hope you enjoy it...
Hello Diane, I'm in the process of building a Japanese inspired garden. I'm just putting the hard landscaping in. I have done some research and read somewhere that the ideal garden in japan "appears to have so little in it, that if you were to take away one more thing, there wouldn't be anything left". That's why I say inspired, I'm just not capable of minimal, cant fit another plant in is more my approach to gardening. Good advice already given, research is a good way to start and can save some costly mistakes. Good luck.
'Diane' asked the question quite a lot...