By Marni McEntee

STEPPING INTO DEB GUNDERSON’S backyard, the pulse slows and the senses are buoyed: chartreuse hostas and orange lilies tickle the eyes, fragrant honeysuckle caresses the tongue and nose, a bubbling pond with splashing koi and chirping toads fills the ears.

Gunderson and her husband Jay created the yard with the elegance and simplicity of a Japanese garden in mind. Gravel paths decorated with Oriental statues and other focal points ask for a wander.

“They also wanted to use plants, bushes and trees native to Wisconsin and the region, so they have a Pagoda dogwood and a flowering Joe Pye. Immigrants are welcome, too, like the graceful Moroccan weeping blue Atlas cedar and a Japanese maple.

All combine to create an oasis of calm in their Mount Horeb neighborhood.

“Our goal is to have a serene, peaceful backyard to spend time in with friends and family,” Gunderson says.

Mission accomplished.

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