Chinese Garden

‘HUA YUAN’ style of ‘ZHONG GUO’ – Well…I simply mean Garden style of China! (;0)

We all know more about the Japanese garden than the Chinese perhaps because the former opened up to the world in around 1868 while the latter came in as late as the 1979 but it is a known fact that the Japanese garden style gets its roots from China.

The Chinese believed that all things are related to each other and co exist in balance and harmony (which is seen in Yin and Yang, the five elements and Tai Chi). There gardens are a microcosm of Nature. Mountains, Oceans and Forest can be replicated as Rocks, Water and Plants.

Chinese Garden

Chinese Garden

Incorporate these typical features of the Chinese garden to have one of your own

  • The Chinese garden style is naturalistic. Most of them occupied large space. See if you can make your gardens a replica of the site closest to your regions landscape. This could be the best way to imitate nature.
  • Movement was emphasized by having views at necessary nodes. The pathways were designed as tight and curving bearing a belief that any malicious spirits following would loose its trail! With every dynasty, the garden design evolved and covered walkways became a common feature.
  • Your footprint should be designed in a meandering fashion. To build curiosity, lead the pathway into a beautiful created view.
  • Weathered rocks were used specifically to remind Taoist teachings “soft things came over hard things.”They also represent YANG-the masculine.
  • Add Rocks and place them randomly on site.
  • Built elements like Pavilions, kiosks became well integrated with the outdoors. There were built for the purpose to read or do calligraphy. Functional aspects like having a children’s play area in the design were thought of.
  • A Pavilion in your garden is an interesting Chinese element that you can add.
  • Water was an important element. Ponds would not only have fishes but also other amphibians. You would also find flowering plants in the water body. A built structure was strategically placed, partially on water and partially on ground. Water represents YING-the female.
    Chinese Garden

    Chinese Garden

  • Make a realistic curvilinear pond. It can be the central feature of your garden. You could have small bridges over the water body.
  • Shrubs and Trees which are flowering are seen. Less plants were used. Get plants which depict something. For example Bamboo is used quite commonly in Chinese gardens. It blends with the wind and does not break. Use peopnies, they represent wealth and elegance.
  • The garden walls were short and mostly painted white to give a backdrop when the plants casted shadows. They had moon shaped entrance/exits for the garden.
  • Have windows which open into the garden from your home. Add moon gates to your garden entrance.

 An elegant mix of these features will give you a Chinese garden.

Happy thematic gardening!

The English Garden

There is a whole lot of history associated with English Gardens. We will start with introducing you to the few pioneers of the English garden style and give you a gist of key features of their flair. We will also add, a short note on what you can take from these designers for your home.

Garden at ROUSHAM

Image of the garden at ROUSHAM

The natural style of these gardens was started by WILLIAN KENT who was  an Architect, a painter, a Landscape Architect and also a Furniture designer. Hard to believe, but very true! Kent introduced ‘naturalstic style’ for garden designing. It simply means that Kent kept the garden design, in its look as close to nature as possible. He added winding pathways leading to the temple, had cascades, he enjoyed giving water bodies in his design a natural shape and in short his work had a very informal garden appearance.

Another great pioneer of the English garden was William Kent’s pupil and son in law – Lancelot “Capabilty” Brown. I must say, the entire garden designing talent came from this family! Lancelot did away from the all the geometric designs and brought freshness by having lawns to maximum lengths, introduced artificial water bodies in the form of streams, canals and damns to give the illusion that that water is naturally available, bridges to connect them and belts or clumps of trees.

Water feature at Cheswick house

Water feature at Cheswick house

Now for all the history lovers, you can see a preview of the garden style by William Kent in villa for Alexander Pope’s villa garden at Twickenham, for Queen Caroline at Richmond and Rousham House, Oxfordshire and design works of Capabilty Brown can be observed in Compton Verney, Warwickshire and Ickworth house and garden, Suofflk. Besides these two works of Humphry Repton, considered as a successor of Capability Brown, is quite famous as well.

If you want to imitate an English Landscape then these are the few must haves –

  • We suggest that an English garden is best suited if the architecture of your home is on the similar lines.
  • Find a balance of informal and formal planning in your garden layout. You can achieve this by using curvilinear and straight geometry. Avoid symmetry since the intention is to give the garden a natural appearance.
  • A water pond with ornamental plants or a fountain with a classical statue is an essential. If you have acres of land, try and make an artificial stream and add bridges at necessary nodes for connectivity.
    Ickworth house garden ,Suffolk

    Ickworth house garden ,Suffolk

  • Have a fairly large lawn bordered with perennial plants. Roses are quite a common plant in this style.
  • You can use brick or stone pathway and picketed fences
  • Add an Arbour which will lead to a your home entrance
  • Have small stone seating in your garden
  • Allow your garden to be slightly overgrown with plants, you will mostly find flowering plants in this style of garden

Adding these elements with proper planning and execution will give you your very own English garden.

Written by Priyanka Malik for GreenMyLife