The An Hien garden house at No 58 Nguyen Phuc Nguyen in Thua Thien - Hue (Photo: VNA)

Thua Thien – Hue (VNA) – The central province of Thua Thien - Hue has decided to allocate 32.6 billion VND (1.44 million USD) to preserve and develop garden houses in 2017-2020, heard a conference to review two years of the province’s resolution on garden houses protection.

Over the last two years, the province poured nearly 7.3 billion VND (321,460 USD) to maintain and develop garden houses in Hue and Phong Dien district. About 5.3 billion VND (233,380 USD) was earmarked to restore five out of 14 houses, with a financial aid of from 600-750 million VND for each house.

Vice Standing Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Phan Ngoc Tho said the province will continue to disseminate the policy to maintain and develop the values of the garden houses, raising homeowners’ awareness of the work.

Besides, the province will devise tours for visitors to live in the houses and experience local customs of marriage, death anniversary and making foods in holidays, he added.

To be a Hue-style garden house, a home must have two distinct elements: a nha ruong (Hue-style wooden house with beams and pillars), and surrounding gardens. They have yards in both the front and back. In the front yard a decorated wall or rock structure blocks bad luck and harmful winds from entering the house through its main door. Between the wall and the front hallway lie pots of flowers, a fish tank or pond and bonsai trees.

A driveway running from the main entrance gate connects the front yard with the outside road.

The backyard serves as a space for housework and food preparation. The house, front yard, back yard and entry way are in a shape that preserves a fengshui structure.

There are often four gardens surrounding the house. Behind the backyard is a garden plot for herbs and vegetables. A small plot linked to front yard often has flowers. The left and right gardens are for perennial fruit trees such as guava, grapefruit, star fruit, peach and areca.

The structure and flora are organised to create a comfortable, safe ambience for the owners, who were often royal family members, feudal mandarins or wealthy people like traders, herbal physicists and tailors.

At the end of the feudal era in 1945, Hue had 7,178 garden houses. But only 150 are still standing in their original shapes, according to a survey conducted by local authorities in the early 2000s.-VNA