In the hot arid climate of the Middle East, where the desert oasis and the coast are essential to life, it is not surprising that cooling water and shade are essential elements of garden design. Whilst the outside walls of the traditional Islamic house have a solid and closed appearance, internally the plan is usually based around a shaded courtyard. Water is probably the most important element of Islamic Garden Design and is associated with wealth and fertility.

The verdant, shady inner courtyard of a Mamluk Townhouse, Cairo. 

Garden in Morrocco 

Gardens, flowing water, pools and fountains are likewise important elements in the Qur’anic descriptions of paradise. Mohammad in describing his journey to heaven describes 4 rivers, flowing with wine, milk, honey and water. This is transcribed into Garden design as the chahar-bagh or the four-fold garden, which typically has a central fountain or pool from which flow 4 rivers representing the 4 main elements of life. Islamic gardens are a place for spiritual contemplation and physical relaxation. The person who creates such a garden is showing their desire to attain the highest spiritual enlightenment.

Garden in Granada

In opulent buildings the water may continue to run through the rooms themselves, either as simple channels emphasizing axes or fountains, larger pools and cascades that would create not only a cool indoor microclimate but also add soothing sounds and ever changing patterns in reflections of light

Court of the Lions, Granada

About Frances and Kyle

We are 3rd year Interior and Environmental Design Students at DOJCAD, at the University of Dundee.
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