Welcome! You’re a Salon Fan Now

About the Japanese Garden

Through the centuries gardens have been experienced as heavens of serenity and pure expressions of natural beauty in Japan. They have been conceived as spaces for the contemplation of life and time.

Our Garden is a unique composition that draws elements from Japanese culture, and still acknowledges indigenous culture and its reverence for the land and air.

Like the Akimel, O’odham, Pee Posh, and other indigenous cultures of the Southwest, the Japanese do not see nature simply as an object separate from us. The relationship with nature is to be held in awe. That idea has been around since the 11th Century, especially found in the very first garden manual, “The Sakuteki”.

The conception of gardens in Japan has deep roots in the soil of Zen Buddhism, as many of its priests were the designers of temple gardens and influencers of Japanese landscape practice. Sobin Yamada, abbot of the Shinju-an Temple, says ‘in Zen we don’t look outside for Buddha, where we live is the Buddha realm; paradise is where we live, so we keep (the garden) always clean and beautiful.’ This is an awesome and liberating realization. Through the contemplation of nature, the garden becomes a path into the realm of spirit.

The meditative quality of the gardens is a simple result of walking paths designed to release one’s mind from the objective world and into the evergreen trees, the shifting textures, and the subtle murmur of running fountains. For those who slow their pace, the Japanese garden becomes a delicate space which nurtures and heals the soul.

Our Zen Garden flowed from the same stream of inspiration. It was built with the purpose of serving as space for the arts. It is intentionally contemplative and expressive, and a refuge for one to seek the divine in their journey.

"The beautiful landscape as we know belongs to those who are like it."

– Muso Suseki, Buddhist Monk and Landscape Designer, 13th Century.
[dsm_perspective_image title_text=”salon-at-the-garden-high-resolution-logo-transparent” align=”center” _builder_version=”4.24.2″ _module_preset=”default” custom_padding=”40px|40px|40px|40px|true|true” global_colors_info=”{}”][/dsm_perspective_image]

The building exterior follows a Santa Fe Pueblo architectural style with earth-toned walls. The interior, however, is Japanese in style and tone. Beautiful sliding shoji doors open to a grand room and an expansive garden designed to reflect the aesthetic arrangement of traditional Japanese architecture. The grand room flowing into the garden, a unique conception of the Japanese culture, is a vehicle that sets a mood of harmony with nature.

The theme of the garden centers on the concept of soul healing. A large flagstone-carved “Om” sign at the entrance sits on a raked gravel bed setting the character and purpose of the building. The Om sound is both, according to tradition, an aspect of the Absolute and a source of healing. The intent was to capture both facets in the design. A visitor, continuing on the path will hear the water sounds running from a waterfall only partially visible. The hide-and-reveal principle is key to Japanese garden design. Only when one gets close to the end of the pathway does the rock formation becomes visible and the water stream comes into sight. Each angle of the garden is expected to offer a different experience as if a series of framed pictures were slowly unveiled.

As the garden celebrates its 10th year of life, the climate challenges of the Southwest, compelled a redesign to remove the lawn in favor of drought tolerant plants, a process of experimentation that has taken almost three years. But it gave us an opportunity to reposition the stones into a triadic arrangement which is an essential feature of traditional design concepts.

The triad of boulders is an intentional opportunity for visitors to contemplate ideas of energy, existence, and flow. For example, the upright boulder reaches toward heaven. The boulder at the lower left, conveniently shaped millions of years ago, shows three dynamic angular creases. It’s placement, in alignment with the shape of the upright boulder, represents humanity. The third element represents the Earth.

Of course, the garden changes over time with the growth of the plants and trees. In another five years, the garden will reach its second mature stage.

We look forward to your visit to our special garden and take delight in your immersion and awe of the Southwest and Japanese elements.