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Garden Designer’s Round Table: A Round-up of Bridges & Water Crossings

July 26, 2011

Just down the road from where I live is the one of the most notable bridges in history.  The Concord bridge is the sight of ‘the shot heard round the world’; renowned in American history as the the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

This morning, when I realized I had all but forgotten about today’s water post, a friend quickly (and thankfully) gave me much needed inspiration when she said that the first thing she thought of when I said water was bridges. (and we have so many famous bridges in our midst!)

Bridges, of course! They go hand in hand with water….(unless, like me, you are just as likely to charge straight through a babbling brook, soaking a perfectly good pair of shoes).   Bridges are the elegant, and if you think about it, often iconic way, of crossing water.  They are boundary breakers and funnel points. In the garden these features can be anything from spare and simple (think a log bridge) to gorgeously ornate (think curvy arched bridges of Japanese gardens)  and everything in between.   Designing a garden bridge is an opportunity to define the sensations of a garden and if you get it right, I guarantee that bridge will be one of the most memorable things in your landscape.

So, do you want to cross the water with a bit of excitement and suspense? Consider loosing the railings, leaving gaps between a stepping stone bridge or even a suspended bridge. Do you want to ponder the water’s reflection?  Or do you want the bridge to be an object d’ art?  Perhaps it is floating or maybe it covered. The often forgotten underside of a bridge seems have as much garden opportunity at the topside.

I hope this round-up of bridges will inspire you to think about how you cross water.

a variety of bridge inspirations

1. Flagstones, 2. Going for a walk 🙂, 3. Red and black bridge, 4. Magic Garden, 5. swinging bridge, 6. red bridge, 7. Qibao, 8. Bridge in the Gardens of Louisiana, 9. Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral, 10. Relocated Pratt Truss Bridge, Battleground at Deer Park Golf Course, Deer Park, Texas 0206101414BW, 11. Army Photography Contest – 2007 – FMWRC – Arts and Crafts – Bridge Into Fog, 12. log-bridge, 13. Covered bridge, 14. the separation, 15. Monet’s Garden – Bridge, 16. Oxygrains Old Bridge 1, 17. Katie, on the stone bridge, 18. Public Garden Bridge, 19. Bridge in the Woods AD, 20. Bendy Bridge
There is more talk about Water in the garden today with my Garden Designer’s Round Table Colleagues — Make sure to check out the rest of the posts:

Debra Lee Baldwin : Gardening Gone Wild : Escondido, CA

Tara Dillard : Vanishing Threshold : Atlanta, GA

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jenny Peterson : J Peterson Garden Design : Austin TX

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

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  1. Ivette Soler says:

    oh the big, bold stepping rocks! I die! I DIE! Way to go, Rochelle – great collection of images.

  2. Who doesn’t love a bridge? Whenever I see one, I’m a kid again, eager to cross it and look down at the view from it. Thank you for showing so many. A bridge for every garden. Great post!

  3. Debbie/GardenofPossibilities says:

    Rochelle, What a fun take on the topic of water. I love your collection of photos, each one tells such a wonderful story.

  4. tara dillard says:

    Oh no, you are bad. BAD.

    Thought my wanderlust was quenched. For a bit.

    Not anymore. Love what you’ve saved/compiled.

    Again, you are so BAD posting these pics.

    Garden & Be Well, XO TAra

  5. Yes the big bold stepping rocks its them for me too!
    Lovely selection of pics and great points!

  6. Clever you; the association of bridges with water and their visual and psychological importance to garden/landscape design. Love. Love it all!

  7. jennifer says:

    FYI, I am 99.9% positive that the last image “bendy bridge” is the one at the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden. Website:

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