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The Couple's Garden Retreat

Surrounded by the canal from three sides, the Couple's Garden Retreat has piers close to the front and back entrances. The housing complex, located in the middle and flanked by the East and West Garden, consists of four buildings in succession and is joined with the gardens by muti-storied buildings.

The East Garden has a dominant "mountain" rising from a pond .The pavilions, terraces and towers are centered upon the mountain. The Thatched Cottage at the City Corner, a principal structure of the garden, is made up of a group of double-roofed and muli-storied buildings, fronting a very natural and realistic yellowstone mountain, running from east to west, piled up by the great master Zhang Nanyang at the end of the Ming Dynasty. To the south of the pond is the Amongst Mountains and Water Pavilion. Made of ornamental wood in the Ming Dynasty, the circular door frame of the pavilion, about 4 m across and 3.5 m high, was carved with an open-work picture of "Three Friends in the Dead of Winter", namely pine, bamboo and prunus mumm instinct with life, an art treasure of this sort in the classical gardens of Suzhou.

The West Garden consists of studies, pavilions and garden courts. One enters the garden and gets a glimpse of limestone mountains with caves connected up with each other below and an undulating wall above, which encloses and divides space. To the north of the mountains is the Old House with Woven Curtains,at the rear of which there's a study ,a "L" shaped tower used as a library, decorated with rocks, trees and flowers in front.

The Couple's Garden Retreat has 24 buildings,21 tablets and parallel couplets,10 brick carvings,and 7 valuable old trees such as pinus bungeana Zucc,pinus thunbergii Parl,wisteria sinensis Sweet,etc.