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Chinese Gardens - Connecting with Nature


Chinese Gardens are a very spiritual affair and Chinese Garden Design is believed to be one of the arts. These gardens are difficult to landscape design authentically and attain the balance, harmony, proportion and variety that are considered essential to life.

Chinese Gardens

The gardens can be confusing and dense, dominated by huge Rock-piles with buildings squeezed into small spaces, unlike the Japanese Gardens that are simple and sparse. The types of space can be Landscape Parks, Domestic Courtyards or Sacred Gardens.

Landscape Parks are natural parks with stones being an essential component of the design. Domestic Courtyards, enclosed outdoor spaces, are the classic garden where a rectangular domestic courtyard is attached to a dwelling. Sacred Gardens are a product of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.

Confucianism is associated with the geometrical order of domestic and town planning. This is tied up with ancestor worship and harmony between man and the universe.

Taoism is a divine principle which underlies the natural world. This mystical religion of naturalness rather wealth or status is what inspires the natural approach to the garden design.

Buddhism resulted in rocks being used to form gardens that are aids to meditation.

Classical Gardens are made up of five key elements;

    Chinese Garden Design
  • Water
  • Rocks
  • Plants
  • Height of Walls?
  • Buildings
  • Art

Water is the central component and serves as a balance for the other elements in the garden and represents purity and serenity.

Rocks are large and porous and symbolize the dwellings of Taoist Immortals.

Plants are associated with overcoming the limitations of ordinary life. Common trees used, such as pine, cypress, plum and bamboo is able to grow in harsh weather conditions and rough terrain. Some of these are also turned into bonsai trees. Chinese design differs from western-style gardens design in that there are no planted flowerbeds or manicured lawns.

Buildings divide a garden, through careful arrangement, into smaller sections, with one or more scenic views used to emphasis the garden by framing the view with windows and doorways.

Art is considered to be synonymous with garden design in China and magic lanterns are one of the most popular implements in a Traditional Chinese Garden. The main principle is to recreate nature, to present its essence without an artificial effect.


Other Features include;

Waterside Pavilions upon a lake or pond where a garden with half the structure built on land and the other half raised on stilts above the water.

Pagoda-style Pavilions are connected by footpaths that are imaginatively patterned with coloured pebbles.


The Chinese believe the garden is a place for solitary or social contemplation of nature and provide a spiritual utopia that is supposed to connect to nature. These spiritual shelters decorated with symbolic materials represent renewal and strength of will, featuring waterfalls, mountains, lakes and forests.

Whether you have created a Chinese Garden because you share the spiritual significance, or because you just love the beauty of the Chinese Garden Design, please share your design pictures by submitting your project to this site.


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