Those familiar with the 18th century Chinese classic, The Dream of the Red Chamber, by Cao Xueqin, will definitely delight in this replica of the family gardens depicted in the novel. Though Daguanyuan has a distinct old-world air about it, work on the garden only began in 1984, and was completed in 1988. The Grand View Garden re-creates the ambience and splendor of the Qing Dynasty when the Chinese legendary classic, The Dream of the Red Mansions took centre stage. Located in Xuanwu District southwest of Beijing, the present Grand View Garden is a replica of Daguanyuan the magnificent garden of an imperial family described in the well-known Chinese novel "A Dream of Red Mansions" by a Qing Dynasty writer Cao Xueqin (17l5-l763). The site used to be a park dotted with willows and pines. In l984, the China Television Film Production Centre decided to use it as the setting to shoot garden scenes for the TV series "A Dream of Red Mansions". The Xuanwu District Government then suggested that the temporary garden be turned into a permanent scenic spot. Thus the plan to build the Grand View Garden faithful to the writer's description has come into being.
The Grand View Garden covers 110,000 square meters and includes more than 40 scenic spots illustrating the main plots in the garden. The stonework covers an area of more than 8,000 square meters and the lakes and canals 24,000 sq. m. The construction work is divided into three stages, of which the first stage in the southern part of the garden cost about 4 million yuan (about l.4 million US dollars) and was opened to the public in early 1985. It includes a front gate, four courtyards, Qinfang Bridge, Dicui Pavilion, winding paths and other scenic sites. Every effort has been made to be accurate in reproduction of Daguanyuan. Horticulturists, architects, archaeologists and experts on the history of the famous novel were asked to pay much attention to the layout of the whole garden, the location of trees, the arrangement of the rockery, and the decoration of the main characters' homes.