US National Arboretum


An Introduction to
Classical Chinese Gardens

image of a Chinese Garden Building and pond

For centuries, Chinese gardens have displayed a delicate balance between the forces of nature and manís creations. These luxurious gardens provide a spiritual haven from worldly worries.

A delicate balance of five key elements will make up the USNAís Classical Chinese Garden, creating a setting where visitors can learn, relax and enjoy.

image of bridge over water
Water is considered to be the central component of a Chinese garden. It serves as a balance for the other elements in the garden. The best sites in Chinese gardens are on the edges of lakes with views of the mountains.

image of rock sculpture
Chinese scholars used rocks as art on their desks. Garden rocks that are often large and porous are considered to be among the most valuable in a Chinese garden. These ageless objects symbolize the dwellings of Taoist immortals.

image of plants
Certain plants were favored for Chinese gardens because of their association with overcoming the limitations of ordinary life. The pine, cypress, plum and bamboo are favorites because of their ability to grow in harsh weather conditions and rough terrain.

image of Chinese Garden building
The arrangement of buildings divides a Chinese garden into smaller sections that contain one or more scenic views. The buildings in a garden are designed to accent the garden with windows and doorways that frame scenic views in their courtyards and beyond.

image of woman playing instrument
A garden design is considered to be an art form in China. Other Chinese art includes: calligraphy, painting, poetry, dance, flower arranging and viewing stones.


- Click here for more information on plans for the US National Arboretum's Classical Chinese Garden.

- Click here for the story on the signing of the agreement.


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Last Updated   December 16, 2004 3:54 PM
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