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Design of the Bridges

A small stream curves through the wooded land designated for the stroll garden. As it had no crossings, some sort of bridge was needed to create an interesting walk along both sides of the brook.

In Japan, there are many bridge styles and materials: arched (full-moon), earthen, stone slab and stepping stone, to name a few. Aesthetics, visual appeal and ingenuity were the primary goals for the structures in Three Bridges Stroll Garden. However, the lack of bulldozer, crane or other motorized equipment limited this project's choices.

The first bridge, Pont de Pierre, is fully visible from the house. The viewing angle is from above and at a distance of 150 feet. It is nestled under an arch of greenery in the warm months, surrounded by scarlet maples and golden birch leaves in fall and buried under several feet of snow in winter.

Building the first bridge began as a weekend, indoor project, as the picture below attests, and lasted through the winter months.

The second wooden bridge, Moribashi, benefited from insights gained from building the first bridge. It has a less steep slope for easier walking. Its load is carried in the vertical manner of most of New England's covered bridges, such that there is no horizontal movement. Visually, it is hidden in the deep woods behind ferns and trees; it does not come into view until rounding a bend in the path.

The design and implementation of the stone bridge, made of heavy granite slabs, was completely limited by the law of gravity and the lack of motorized devices. Levers, pulleys and sweat were the tools available.

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