Oriental Style Gardens
An appreciation of nature is essential to both Japanese and Chinese garden design. Each seeks to interpret the natural landscape in miniature and both convey a sense of calm and serenity. Man's place in the garden is clearly defined with spaces organized by function and views carefully controlled by design. While Japanese gardens were heavily influenced by China, each style is distinct in it's look and feel.
Chinese gardens were places of tranquility and scholarly pursuit. Here the Chinese elite pursued the study of calligraphy, poetry, art and philosophy. Key features include a tranquil water feature, unusual rocks, rock gardens and plants with symbolic meanings: the pine (longevity), bamboo (strength and flexibility) and the plum (loyality).
Like Chinese gardens, Japanese gardens are designed to depict a natural landscape in miniature. Japanese gardens vary in appearance depending on the function of the garden. These can include the tea garden, Zen garden or strolling garden. Japanese gardens also contain water, symbolic plants, stones and carefully designed views.
Stone & Water in the Oriental Garden
The most important elements in oriental gardens are stone and water. Stone can be thought of as the skeleton or foundation of the garden. Water in the garden helps offset the weight of stone and provides melody, movement and open reflective spaces.
The shape, size and placement of rocks is extremely important. Great care is taken to achieve asymmetric balance. Stone work can also be found in paths, steps and bridges.
Water in the Oriental Garden
Tsukubai (water basin)
Shishi Odoshi (deer scare)
Koi pond. The Koi fish symbolize good luck, abundance and perseverance in adversity.
Structures in the Oriental Garden
Chinese gardens are designed as a series of spaces, or rooms. They are often enclosed by walls and connected by gates, walkways or pavilions. Views are designed to be revealed slowly as one walks through the garden. Here are some examples of structures in Chinese gardens:
Chinese bridge, Summer Palace, Beijing, China
Chinese moon gate, Missouri Botanical Garden
Chinese garden wall.