‘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.
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.
- 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!