Kenyon College

The Long History of Korean Gardens


For two thousand years, Koreans have been constructing beautiful gardens meant to bring the harmony of the natural world into man-made spaces. These gardens range from majestic gardens situated in royal palaces to humble courtyard gardens in traditional hanok-style family homes. Korean gardens are distinguished from their Chinese and Japanese cousins by a deep emphasis on naturalistic beauty, a direct influence of the Korean philosophy of hermitism. To achieve this natural beauty,  gardens take into account architecture, water, stone, and open space to create a sense of unlikely balance that isn’t forced or artificial. The most common features of Korean gardens grow out of these elements and include architectural pavilions and central reflecting ponds.

To read more about the history of Korean gardens, and the current revival of the home courtyard garden in Korean homes, please follow the links below:


Image: Hyangwonji Pond and Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul. Courtesy of and Korea Magazine.