Photo of Paradise Garden Design

The term paradise garden tends to evoke the Islamic garden, a paradise with water, plants and the scent of lemons or jasmine. The garden layout tends to be formal and symmetrical but the planting softens it and is designed to give the garden  peace and tranquillity.

The word paradise originally meant enclosure and the Paradise garden will usually be an enclosed space.

Creating a Paradise Garden

One of the most important elements of the garden is water and ponds, canals and rills are all common. Sound is an essential quality to a paradise garden as all the senses should be stimulated at once. Fountains are a way of incorporating the gentle sound of splashing water.

Symmetry is important as it adds to the sense of harmony and tranquillity important in a Paradise garden. The garden is often divided into four to represent the four rivers of the Garden of Eden.

Scent is vital and in the Mediterranean climate where these gardens evolved the scent of citrus and jasmine was usually present. Roses and other scented flowers can also be used.


The most traditional plan is a rectangular garden split into four with a round pond in the centre. The split into four can be made with rills of water and/or paths of gravel and often the four shapes will be filled with a carpet of flowering plants.

Plants for a Paradise Garden

Tall Plants for a Paradise Garden

Citrus trees - essential to a paradise garden. Keep sheltered overwinter.

Palm trees, Trachycarpus fortunei is a hardy palm useful for European gardens

Italian cypress trees

Medium Plants for a Paradise Garden

Roses - choose strongly scented varieties

Jasmine - both its glossy green leaves and its scent are valuable

Box hedging - this is used as an alternative to stone or concrete to form a series of symmetrical shapes filled with an abundant planting of flowering annuals

Flowering Plants for a Paradise Garden

Dahlia sp - flowers are important in a paradise garden and dahlias flower all summer long

Flowering annuals

Examples of Paradise Gardens in France

Two of the most famous paradise gardens are those of the Taj Mahal in India and the Alhambra in Spain but they were also the inspiration for the Gardens of the Palace of Versailles and the gardens of the Louvre. They also formed part of the inspiration for the Jardin des Paradis at Cordes sur Ciel.