Date of Award


Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Benjamin George


Benjamin George


Keunhyun Park


Jasmine Yu-Hsing Chen


Research shows that time spent in nature is good for human health and well-being. However, as the world’s population becomes more concentrated in urban areas regular time in nature, especially extended time, is becoming more difficult to have. On the other hand, Chinese gardens can provide one solution to this problem because they have a unique way of providing a naturalistic space within a small area. Despite this fact, there aren’t many Chinese style gardens outside of China. Therefore, the objective of this thesis was to identify possible barriers to using Chinese garden design principles and construction techniques, then address them with a number of solutions.

As part of this effort the best literature was consulted including books and journal articles on Chinese garden design, history, and related fields. The information from literature was then compared to both Western practices and current development processes for Chinese gardens in the West to identify possible barriers. Many of the barriers were found to be related to cost, cultural differences, materials, laws and regulations, and education.

To address these barriers the literature was consulted, and a number of solutions sprung from the history of Chinese gardens as well as current literature. Overall, however, solutions for overcoming barriers to the use of Chinese garden design principles were found to be centered in foundational design objectives and principles. These objectives and principles were found to allow the flexibility needed for Chinese gardens to adapt to local circumstances and conditions. In the end following these ideas and principles will allow professionals to create gardens that are anywhere along a spectrum from fully Chinese in character to fully local in character.