A place of natural beauty and quiet retreat in the Los Angeles community of Bel-Air, the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is modeled on the gardens of Kyoto. The beautiful hillside garden was designed by noted Japanese garden designer Nagao Sakurai in 1959 and constructed between 1959 and 1961. It is recognized as one of the finest examples of Japanese gardens in Americas and was donated to the University of California in 1964.
Sadly, the garden is now closed and its survival is threatened. In November 2011, UCLA announced plans to sell the garden, citing rising costs, deferred maintenance, and the lack of attendance due to limited parking. However, UCLA, in a series of agreements, had accepted the donation with a promise to maintain it in perpetuity.
UCLA listed the Hannah Carter home and Japanese Garden for sale on March 3, 2012, after removing valuable art objects that are integral to the design of the garden. On July 27, the Los Angeles Superior Court granted a temporary injunction halting the sale of the garden. A trial date has been set for May 6, 2013. That’s good news and buys time to seek a preservation solution.
However, the effort to preserve the garden is far from over. Please continue to urge the Chancellor and the Regents of the University of California to honor UCLA’s pledge and preserve the garden in perpetuity. Many organizations experienced in private/public partnerships have let UCLA know that they are eager to work with them. Please sign the petition and forward it to others who are interested in saving this cultural landmark.
Stand with these organizations, elected officials, and community groups in showing your support to Save the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden.
- American Public Gardens Association
- American Society of Landscape Architects
- American Society of Landscape Architects – Southern California Chapter
- Bel Air Garden Club
- The California Garden and Landscape History Society
- California Preservation Foundation
- The Cultural Landscape Foundation
- The Garden Conservancy
- The Los Angeles Conservancy
- National Trust for Historic Preservation
- North American Japanese Garden Association
Additional information about the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden:
• The Garden Conservancy: Threatened Garden Alert
• The Cultural Landscape Foundation: UCLA’s Hannah Carter Japanese Garden
Facing Uncertain Future
• “A Garden That Reminds One of Kyoto” (Grabhorn Press, San Francisco, 1962),
with descriptions of principal garden features and landscape elements
• UCLA: Hannah Carter Japanese Garden visitor brochure, with text by Koichi Kawana
• “Why the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is Worth Saving,” a presentation by Dr. Kendall
H. Brown, Professor of Asian Art History, Department of Art, CSU Long Beach, and author of “Japanese-style Gardens of the Pacific West Coast” (Rizzoli, 1999)