One Good Life in Los Angeles

Roslyn's observations about places and events around Southern California

The Japanese Garden at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant

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japanese gardens van nuys

The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, CA, shares the same entrance and grounds as the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant. So is it a garden or is it a sewage reclamation plant? How about both?

japanese gardens van nuys

The Japanese Garden, composed of water, plants and pathways  is a 6½ acre authentic Japanese garden fashioned after “stroll gardens” constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries for Japanese Feudal lords.

japanese gardens van nuys

The Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant (DCTWRP) was designed to produce reclaimed water to relieve the overburdened portions of the wastewater collection system between the San Fernando Valley and the city’s main wastewater treatment facility, the Hyperion Treatment Plant, located in Playa del Rey, roughly 25 miles away.

japanese gardens van nuys

Some of the water processed in the tanks at the plant is reclaimed and used for the Japanese Garden (and the Lake Balboa Recreation Area in the same proximity).

japanese gardens van nuys

As you know by now, about once a month I tag along on my mother’s assisted living group outings. It’s good for her to get out and see the world. And, admittedly for selfish reasons, I enjoy the trips too! There are many different Japanese gardens around the Los Angeles area but I had never been to this one before.

japanese gardens van nuys

It is described as the garden of water and fragrance. Well, it is a sewage treatment plant so the “fragrance” was a little ripe, but not uncomfortable.

japanese gardens van nuys

The garden incorporates three classical designs: a dry karensansui, a wet garden with promenade chisen, and an authentic tea ceremony garden with tatami mat tea room.

japanese gardens van nuys

There is no separation between the garden and architectural structures according to Japanese design concepts.

ThMany unique Japanese concepts and esthetics involved in traditional Japanese gardens stem from Zen Buddhism.

The waterfall is designed in three tiers: upper “heaven,”  middle “man,” and lower “earth.” The waterfall is the main entryway of water from the sewage reclamation plant into the gardens. About three million gallons of reclaimed water pass through the lake on a daily basis.

There is no separation between garden and architecture according to Japanese design concepts.

The interior of the tea house. It is a house of peace, and visitors who have brought weapons, such as Samurai swords, must leave them outside!

It is a house of peace and any weapons, such as a Samurai sword, must be left outside.

Many of the concepts and esthetics involved in traditional Japanese gardens stem from Zen Buddhism.

It is a house of peace and any weapons, such as a Samurai sword, must be left outside.

Dr. Koichi Kawana, the designer of the gardens, pioneered the idea of creating traditional Japanese gardens with plants native to the location of the garden. He died in 1990 at age 60.

died in September, 1990, at age 60.

An important concept in the garden is “simplicity” or kanso. Simplicity means the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means. Buildings, bridges, fences, and pavement all utilize natural material constructed in an imaginative and refined manner.

An important concept in the garden is "simplicity" or kanso. In this concept, beauty is attained through omission and elimination. Simplicity must not be confused with plainness which is, in many cases, monotonous or a lack of refinement.Simplicity means the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means. Buildings, bridges, fences, and pavement all utilize natural material constructed in a most imaginative and refined manner.

The Western concept of “an instant garden” is unknown in Japan. With time and proper care the true beauty of the properly designed garden will manifest itself.

My favorite part of the garden was the lily pond. Following are several photos of that area:

The Western concept of “an instant garden” is denied in Japan. With time and proper care the true beauty of the property designed garden will manifest itself.

japanese gardens van nuys

The Western concept of “an instant garden” is denied in Japan. With time and proper care the true beauty of the property designed garden will manifest itself.

The green “fuzz” in the foreground are the seeds from the lilies.

japanese gardens van nuys

japanese gardens van nuys

japanese gardens van nuys

The lily pads are humungous… all that good fertilizer!

japanese gardens van nuys

japanese gardens van nuys

japanese gardens van nuys

japanese gardens van nuys

Monet would have gone crazy seeing this lily pond!

japanese gardens van nuys

In the dry parts of the garden, islands are symbolized by rocks of different sizes and interesting shapes.

In dry gardens, islands are symbolized by rocks of interesting shapes set in gravel or sand

Trees and plants displayed in the Japanese garden are closely interwoven with the spiritual and physical life of the people. The pine is a major basic structural tree. Traditionally it is called tokiwa and, as an evergreen, expresses both longevity and happiness.

rees and plants used in the garden are closely interwoven with the spiritual and physical life of the Japanese people. The pine is a major basic structural tree. Traditionally it is called tokiwa and, as an evergreen, it expresses both longevity and happiness.

rees and plants used in the garden are closely interwoven with the spiritual and physical life of the Japanese people. The pine is a major basic structural tree. Traditionally it is called tokiwa and, as an evergreen, it expresses both longevity and happiness.

Wet Heron Lantern. A lantern is primarily for decoration but can be placed where light is needed in a garden, such as this junction of the pathways. Early lanterns were metal while later ones were carved from stone.

japanese gardens van nuys

The Administration Building for the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant has received many architectural awards.

A lantern is primarily for decoration but is placed only where light is needed in a garden, such as this junction of the pathways. Early lanterns were metal with later ones carved from stone.

And we leave the peace, harmony and seclusion of the Japanese Garden to be hurled back into the world of traffic and freeways.

Info source: http://www.thejapanesegarden.com/index.html

Please click on all the photos for a larger view.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, please check with us first for proper usage. Thanks!

12 thoughts on “The Japanese Garden at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant

  1. What a beautiful place. Your photos are incredible. :)

  2. Excellent post! I had no idea this garden even existed and I lived in Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks for several years. I wish I’d known about it then. It looks like a very beautiful and peaceful place to escape from the city.

    • Thanks…. I had never heard of this either. When I signed my mother and myself up for the outing I thought we were going to a completely different Japanese Garden… so this was a pleasant surprise.

  3. Oh my gosh, I’m dying to go now! And to think, I didn’t even know there was such a place in LA! Thanks for the tip and the great pictures!

  4. That is such a beautiful and elegant garden!

  5. Absolutely beautiful! Japanese gardens are always so immaculate! Thanks for sharing :-)

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