Seeking a metaphoric distillation of the essence of nature, Chinese garden aesthetics developed a tradition of symbols for a variety of concepts. When the physical forms of Chinese gardens were translated to the United States, this layer of meaning often was lost. Nevertheless, in an American Chinese garden space, a quiet pool of water, an assertive stone arrangement, and plants -- when skillfully arranged -- collectively may represent the essential elements and forces of nature. These elements are arranged with an eye toward balance rather than symmetry. View and vistas often “borrow” scenery from beyond the garden to extend the sense of spaciousness, while pavilions, paths, and bridges link disparate landscape elements and provide a variety of aspects from which to view the garden.