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The Five Gardens

Japanese gardens attract and intrigue us because they are so different from Western gardens in their design, elements, and purpose.

A garden may be constructed around a single view, or built to encompass numerous shifting focal points. It may be a compact private niche off the open-sided room of a residence, or it may cover acres, with hillocks, paths, and expansive vistas. It may be meant for seated viewing, a setting for the tea ceremony, or for strolling. Japanese gardeners were drawing on textbooks of garden design as early as the 11th century, and garden styles have evolved as their creators have fashioned different theaters for metaphor, meditation, pleasure, and enrichment.

Yume Japanese Gardens expresses five of these traditional visions, complemented by a modern garden and a sculpture garden.

Visit the five gardens

Courtyard Gardens

Two neighboring settings in the Gardens are meant to be explored from clay-walled and shingle-roofed viewing shelters called machiai. These courtyard gardens are where visitors can also explore their own emotional responses to beauty.

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As you round the path from the smaller of the two Courtyard Gardens, notice to your right the tracery of a bamboo grove. This screens the view to the Gourd Garden, which comprises two areas of pine bark bordered by smooth white sand. Originally planted to grass, these areas have been converted to bark as an adaptation to our desert environment. One of the areas is gourd-shaped, a symbol of good fortune in Japan.

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In Japan, a garden can comprise as little as rocks and gravel stones. Simple as these elements are, they are powerfully figurative in their frugal plainness and sculptural simplicity and often abstractly depict allegories based in Zen Buddhism.

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This flat, rectangular expanse of raked white gravel is enclosed by simple granite edging and a border of water-worn dark gray cobbles at the foot of unadorned walls on three sides. Spare and elegant, it is representative of Zen gardens used as a focal point for meditation.

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Strolling Pond Garden

Water is an essential element in the Japanese garden. The water of the pond at Yume Japanese Gardens reflects stone lanterns and trees, ripples against half-submerged stones, sparkles with the flash of koi, and whispers as it courses from rock to rock in a small waterfall.

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Modern Garden and Sculpture Garden

Recent Japanese garden design remains rooted in traditional principles but achieves effects with a distinctively contemporary sensibility, as on view in the modern garden courtyard. 

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