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What is a Paradise Garden?

By Britt Archer
Updated May 16, 2024
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Gardens aren't just a form of landscaping. To some, they're a refuge and a retreat from the hassles of everyday life, a physical embodiment of beauty, relaxation and abundance. This sentiment is echoed by the form of garden known as a paradise garden, an embodiment and reminder of heaven on earth.

Functionally, a paradise garden is an enclosed garden. The word “paradise” is derived from a Persian word meaning “walled garden.” The enclosure keeps out unwanted plants and blocks the outside world from view. Strong geometric motifs, specifically rectangles and squares, are common stylistic features of paradise gardens. Many paradise gardens showcase water with pools, ponds or streams.

Paradise gardens play with the contrast between cultivation and wilderness. The layout of the garden is carefully planned, but plants are often free to grow as they please within their plot. Meandering paths, shady spots and ample sitting room are features commonly seen in paradise gardens.

There are no strict guidelines for growing a paradise garden. The base requirement of a paradise garden is to mimic the tranquility and concept of a peaceful, otherworldly space. This, in turn, has led to a number of variations on the basic theme. Persian gardens, for example, contain a rectangular pool and a viewing platform at the center of the garden. Aromatic fruits, trees and plants spill from the garden, which is quartered around the central reflecting pool.

The influence of paradise gardens can be seen throughout the world and aren't limited to Iran, the country of the garden's origin. The Versailles Gardens of France and those surrounding the Louvre Museum in Paris are both heavily influenced by the principles and aesthetics of paradise gardening. Gardens at the Taj Mahal in India and at Mount Carmel in Israel both bear the marked influence of paradise gardening.

Mughal gardens are another variation on the paradise garden theme. The Mughal gardens are historical sites, situated throughout the countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India and were once part of the infrastructure of the Mughal empire. They provided relaxation, entertainment, food and pleasure for the ruling class of the empire. At least one Mughal garden was large enough to include hunting land as a feature.

Paradise gardens aren't restricted to certain climates or large palatial spaces. Hobbyist gardeners can create their own paradise garden with time and dedication. Lush, aromatic plants from any climate can come together to create this feature. Stone, wood or wire fences enclose these modern versions. Water features can be as elaborate as a pond or as simple as a potted fountain.

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