"The garden around my house is beautiful."
Translation:Grădina din jurul casei mele este frumoasă.
Yes and no.
Yes, the meaning of the preposition "împrejurul" emphasizes the aspect of surrounding/encircling/enclosing something (from all sides). The prepositional phrase "în jurul" is more relaxed; it can mean the same thing as împrejurul, but in some contexts it can also mean: close to, near, in the vicinity of. I think this is analogous to the difference you mention between "surrounding" and "around" in English; please correct me if I'm wrong. As you can see, "împrejurul" is more specific and "în jurul" is more general, so you should always be able to substitute the former with the latter. The other way around is possible only when the meaning is that of surrounding something. And yes, that is the meaning used in the above sentence. But...
No, that's not the reason why "împrejurul" is not accepted in this Duolingo sentence. We can see that it's "din jurul" that is used here, not "în jurul". So what's the difference between these two? Well, it has to do with how some prepositions are switched depending on the syntactical function of the phrase they're part of. This affects various prepositions in Romanian, one example being "în" which is switched with "din" in some cases. It's kinda difficult to explain, but since the phenomenon can be seen in various sentences here on Duolingo, I'll give it a try.
Let's take a few examples:
- The lion is in the cage. = Leul este în cușcă.
The preposition "în" is used for "in", and the translation into Romanian is relatively straightforward, except that little loss of the definite article for cage (which by the way is explained here).
- The lion in the cage is orange. = Leul din cușcă este portocaliu.
Here, we see that the preposition "din" is used for "in", and the Romanian sentence literally means "The lion from the cage is orange", but I don't know if this is proper English. Anyway, din is used here because we're specifying WHICH lion we are talking about.
- The fish is on the table. = Peștele este pe masă.
The preposition "pe" is used for "on", and the translation into Romanian is relatively straightforward, similar to the first sentence.
- The fish on the table is good. = Peștele de pe masă este bun.
Here we see that "de pe" is used for "on", and the Romanian sentence literally means "The fish from on the table is good", but this doesn't look like proper English. Again, de pe is used here because we're specifying WHICH fish we are talking about. Btw, you might find some helpful discussions here and here.
Getting back to our Duolingo sentence, "din jurul" is used instead of "în jurul", because it's specifying WHICH garden the sentence is about. You might ask if there's anything that can be used instead of "din jurul" but which emphasizes the surrounding aspect, like "împrejurul" does when used instead of "în jurul". The answer is yes: you can use "dimprejurul", which is a (mandatory?) contraction of "din împrejurul". (I really can't state with certainty that this contraction is mandatory, as I can't find any definitive reference, but "din împrejurul" sounds really off and clunky and weird to me...)