A Persian And Moorish Gardens – The first pleasure gardens in Egypt and Persia were based on water and their long narrow canals ran in grid patterns, stemming from the idea of the four-square paradise garden. Where these channels met, there would be a large central pond or tank with fish and water lilies. The royal paradise garden was large, with raised pavilions to catch the slightest breeze. Here you could sit under the shade of trees and enjoy the sound of running water and the scents and colors of flowers.
Although in temperate areas water does not have quite the same significance as it does in desert areas, we still find water soothing and relaxing.
Most gardens, large or small, are more interesting if they include a pool, fountain or stream. In city gardens an enclosed garden designed along Persian lines can keep ugly neighboring buildings out of sight. Even in tiny gardens a narrow channel of water can be created, either running alongside a path or taking up the center of the plot.
Narrow flowerbeds can run around the perimeter with seats or spaces for sitting under shady trees. In a small garden you can use paths rather than water as your grid with some formal planting on either side of standard rose bushes and clipped shapes in box or yew. Fastigiate (having erect branches) and mop-headed trees will provide shade without taking up too much light.
There are many similarities between Persian and Moorish gardens, for example the shady trees, scented flowers and the idea of water channels. But whereas Persian gardens were enclosed to keep out the desert, in Moorish gardens the rigid and confined lines were opened up to give views of orchards, olive groves and distant hills.
Patios, porticos and arcades made an almost seamless transition between the house and the garden. Similarly, the wall or hedge of your four-square garden could open out to reveal a tree or an interesting piece of architecture outside the garden itself. Summer houses could be constructed with columns, giving a cloister-like impression to be reflected at one end of the water.