If you have spent time in the traditional China gardens, you can notice the sense of balance and tranquility in their designs. The gardens represent elegance and harmony with nature. Instead of working against Mother Nature, China gardens work with nature to provide an inspirational and peaceful environment to the viewers.
China gardens portray sophisticated architecture and are more than just sticking bamboo in a pot. The designs of these gardens carry an influence by several dynasties, which added their personal touch to their architecture. The concept of China gardens originated due to the need for residence for emperors of China. Initially, the gardens used to be a home for animals used for hunting and as a resting place for the emperors.
The elegance, beauty, and tranquility found in the China garden are the perfect getaway from our busy lives. It can offer you a much-needed spiritual connection and calmness.
Significant Elements of China Garden
China gardens offer people the chance to enjoy nature in every possible way. As time went on, the garden designs included rooms and pavilions in the middle of a pond. You could admire the lush greenery and flowers around you, along with rocks and garden stones to complete the natural look.
The traditional China gardens come with three essential components: water, plants, and stones. Each of these components plays a vital role in the overall design of your garden. According to Chinese history, the water indicated the continuous changes in nature, the stones portray strength and stability, and the plants add beauty and freshness to it.
How China Gardens Came into Being?
The elegantly designed gardens are a common sight in China. For 3,000 years, Chinese scholars, emperors, and poets created China gardens as a place to cherish peace and quiet. The first-ever China garden was constructed in the Yellow River valley by the rules of that time. Several kings and noble members would plant fruits and vegetables in their gardens during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC).
The trend quickly gained popularity, and now people design elegant gardens to offer a peaceful getaway.
Layout and Features of a China Garden
The beauty of the China gardens is that they are not laid out in the open. Instead, they boast careful design and offer you small scenes as you wander through them. These small scenes can help you relax as you journey through the garden. Every scene boasts a sophistication that has careful planning and execution behind.
Not all the elements involved in the scene are part of the garden. For instance, the Mountain View in some of the gardens is included purposely.
The Garden Walls and Enclosures
It is common to find a plain white wall surrounding most of the China gardens. The wall offers perfect contrast for the lush green leaves and gorgeous flowers. All the green leaves and colorful flowers stand out perfectly with the white background.
The wall also provides the illusion that the garden is secluded, although it is not. In addition, the sectioning of the various garden scenes makes the elements stick out perfectly. They present a more vibrant and eye-catching look to the viewers. The walls also come in handy as a feature to exclude the outside world.
China Garden Architecture
Buildings in a China garden may vary from person to person. A scholar might want a library in their garden, whereas the emperors would need a private room to rest. Some of the historic China gardens have pavilions and hallways taking you to the different parts of the garden. On the other hand, the other China gardens have historic temples, towers, and galleries.
The whole concept of including the architecture is to add beauty to the garden. The buildings are included to enhance the grace of China gardens, instead of dominating it. Gardens that are more extensive can have more than one structure, each offering a different view of the garden.
Types of Structures Found in China Gardens
As we mentioned above, the nature of the structure depended on the purpose of the garden. Several different types of structures you will find in a China garden.
The gardens would make the venue to celebrate the union of two people. These halls are usually located at the beginning of the gardens, have large courtyards where people could gather and celebrate the ceremonies. The Principal Pavilions can host a large gathering, such as holidays.
Pavilion of Flowers
The pavilion of flowers often looks like residential homes and comes with small rock gardens. With the pavilion of flowers, you can expect nothing but a fantastic display of plants and flowers.
Pavilions with Movable Walls
With the help of the movable walls, one can enjoy the panoramic view of the entire China garden. The extensive gardens have rooms and space for housing guests.
Seasonal Pavilion in the China Garden
Some China gardens can offer two seasonal sceneries, with the help of divided Pavilion of Mandarin Duck. One part of the Mandarin Duck would face the north, with the exotic lotus pond’s view. In summer, you can encounter cold air blowing in this area of the pavilion. The south section would look out into a courtyard filled with pine and plum trees. The view of blossoming plum trees can be a breathtaking sight and indicate the arrival of the spring.
Some gardens also offer a view to witness autumn foliage, while the others can offer a place to escape the rains.
Rock is an Essential Part of the Décor
Rock is an essential element of any traditional China garden. Each garden has a different type of rock element to it. Some gardens may include simple rock décor, while others can have miniature mountain views made out of rocks. Some gardens can have a mountain view made up of both rocks and dirt.
Large China gardens usually have a huge mountain with a pavilion located on top of it. Careful selection of rocks are found based on their shape, texture, color, and other features. The designers use the same type of rock across the garden to maintain its look and vibe. Limestone rocks are famous among the China garden designers due to their unique shape and texture caused by erosion.
Meaning of the Rock Mountains
To your eye, rocks can just be an esthetic appeal, but they play a bigger role in the gardens. In Chinese culture, mountains have symbolic meaning to them. According to Chinese theories, mountain peaks are a symbol of virtue and stability. Confucius laid the psychological symbolization of the mountain peaks. Moreover, in the legend of the Isles of the Immortals, the use of mountain peak as the main focal point is worth mentioning. All these factors associated with the mountain peaks promoted the presence of the mountains in the China gardens.
Including Plants, Flowers, and Trees in the China Gardens
Plants signify a sense of calmness and tranquility. Choosing plants play an essential role in the construction of the China gardens. Different textures, color, shape, size, and fragrance also come into consideration. However, it is common for a China garden to have a lotus pond near the lotus pavilion. The plants in the gardens enhance the beauty and offer freshening fragrance to it.
Fragrant flowers are an essential component of any China garden. They help to set the atmosphere and induce a calming effect among people. The plants around the buildings and structures can be a great contrast to the scenery.
Sound is another benefit offered by the plants. As the rain falls through the trees, you can hear the soothing sound around you.
Water is the third important element of any China garden. The most common way of adding water to your garden is to build a pond. The pond is usually in the center of the garden with a pavilion in the middle, making it look like an island.
In the large gardens, you can even include lakes instead of small ponds. You can add several other elements to your pond, such as lotuses and fish (goldfish or koi fish).
According to Chinese cultures, water is a symbol of communication, change, and dreams. Adding a water element can also complement the look of rock gardens and mountains.
You Can Also Add Borrowed Scenery to Your Garden
Borrowed scenery refers to the view that lies beyond the garden walls. The view from the pavilion built on top of the mountain is enjoyable. These views can be a surprising element of your China garden, as most people do not think about the view outside of the garden walls. Special care goes into garden setting to offer borrowed sceneries to the viewers.
Take your time to design an elegant China garden with care. Know that it can be a perfect escape from your busy urban life. The gardens can be the best way to enhance the natural beauty of a courtyard.