Lithia’s Redesign of the Japanese Garden


The Ashland Parks Foundation is working with Toru Tanaka to create a redesigned authentic Japanese Garden in Lithia Park. The garden is closed for a total of up to 24 months while under construction. Jeff Mangin and the Marechal family donated a $1.3 million gift to the Ashland Parks Foundation for the redesign of the garden. Jeff Mangin is a resident of Ashland who visits Lithia Park often. The funds were donated to the project in remembrance of Beatrice Marechal whose family is located in Normandy, France. This garden is not only going to be a beautiful, minimalist form of architecture, but also a memorial to reflect the memory of Jeff’s wife.

Toro Tanaka is an astounding landscape designer who is known for his work of Portland’s Japanese Garden. He was the founder and president of Portland Landscape Design and Japanese Garden Specialty while also serving as the director from 1988 to 1991 of the Portland Japanese Garden. During the time that the Portland Japanese Garden was being constructed, Japanese Gardens were being founded throughout the U.S. as a way to begin building cultural understanding of tradition and historical architecture.

Japanese gardens are formed landscapes combined with architecture that emphasize reflection and meditation. Elements of nature, minimalism, and modern art are revolutionized in these gardens to create a space of tranquility for those looking to create a closer relationship with nature. You can find luscious walkways commonly surrounded by evergreen foliage. Varieties of bridges can be crossed as streams of winding water flow underneath. Stones, trees, and architectural features are placed in such a way to represent harmony and natural origin.  Japanese gardens are spaces that welcome serenity and inspiration of long-lasting peace.

Even though the garden likely won’t open until November of next year, the community has high hopes of what the garden will have in store for us.