Created: December 1, 1970
Designer: Lamberts Landscape Firm, Dallas TX
Days Open: Every day (public park)
Hours Open: The Japanese garden is always open
Entry or Parking Fees: free
Garden Phone: Dallas Parks: +1 214-670-4100

Kidd Springs Park Japanese Garden

Garden Description

This Japanese garden sits  on the hillsides next to a 2 acre, spring-fed pond in a shady, peaceful corner of one of Dallas’ neighborhood parks.The garden’s trees include deodar cedars, Japanese black pines (kuromatsu 黒松), sabal palms, Japanese maples (momiji もみぢ), Afghan pines, golden rain tree and Japanese maidenhair (aka Ginkgo biloba). A variety of bamboo species, azaleas, camellias, and shady beds of perennials line the walkways overlooking the pond. Other features include Japanese antiquities typical of those found in traditional Edo Period strolling gardens in Japan including two 18th century Buddhist sculptures as well as a magnificent ten-foot tall carved-granite stone lantern (ishi-dōrō 石灯籠).  It is believed that the lantern and sculptures were a gift from petroleum heiress, Ethyl Buell.2

(In the park’s recreation center, pick up a free copy of the publication by conceptual artist Cynthia Mulcahy produced for her research-based public art project “Performance as Gesture: Songs for a City Park.” Take a self-tour with the publication which details the the cultural and civic history of the Japanese Garden.)

1.  Friends of Oak Cliff Parks, accessed December 1, 2016. “Pleasure Resort of Great Excellence is being arranged in the suburbs” and described “the famous springs, surrounded by a thick grove of pecan trees, interspersed with walnut, persimmon, plum, and other trees.” The reporter described the lake being formed with assistance from nature in the form of a natural ravine as being 500 yards long and 200 yards wide.  “At the head of the lake will be a miniature island,” the article continued, “which will be graced with a pagoda in the center, gainable by rustic bridges, and complete in other appointments.”

2.  M.J. Vanderventer-Shelton, “Japanese Garden Gone, Not Forgotten”, Slice of Muskogee (Summer 2015), pg 15. “She had taken with her the temple bell, the tori gate, stone lanterns of various sizes, and the heavy stone Buddha.  Many of those items were later given to the Kidd springs Park in Dallas.”


(Some names and terms used in this section may have attached definitions and/or links to further information.  Mouse over for the definition and kanji, or click to be taken to more information.) Kidd Springs Park is named for “Colonel” J.W. Kidd and the natural spring located in the area. However, the spring is not located within the historic 31-acre park.  The spring was located on the land Colonel Kidd purchased in 1874 from Mrs. S.E. Winston. According to the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, the spring is located on N. Vernon Street and a pipe carries the water to the lake within the park.  Although the concept of a Japanese garden at this location was mentioned as early as 1895 in a Dallas newspaper article,1 it wasn’t until a gift from Dr. and Mrs. Jack Edwards in 1969 provided funds to create a Japanese garden. The garden was designed by the prominent Lambert’s Landscape firm and dedicated in 1970.  Unfortunately, most of the original garden was destroyed by vandals. The garden was later restored with funds provided to the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department by a City of Dallas bond election.  A 2016 campaign to restore the historic Japanese Garden is now underway [2016] by Friends of Oak Cliff Parks, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Dallas Park and Recreation Department, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension/Water University, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Japan-America Society, Kidd Springs Central and neighborhood park supporters.


Additional Resources:

Gardens in the Americas