Some of the most beautiful gardens in the world can inspire you to create your dream outdoor space. Here are 5 world-famous gardens to get you started.
Most backyard gardens feature a few flowering plants, perhaps a couple small trees, and a smattering of shrubs. In some corners of the world, however, gardens consume acres of space and present plants in no less visually appealing ways than a fine art gallery exhibits illustrious paintings. These magical green spaces might inspire you to pick up a packet of seeds and a hand rake this weekend to transform your own yard.
1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
On approximately 300 acres once owned by British royals, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (or, more colloquially, the Kew Gardens) combines formal gardens with wide open green spaces and themed attractions, all devoted to natural beauty. Spend a full day exploring the Chinese Pagoda, Crystal Palace, and kid-friendly Treehouse Tower.
Over 30,000 species of plants grace the lawns of Kew Gardens. If the living greenery fails to provide sufficient entertainment, the facility’s library and herbarium contain millions of dried specimens as well as literature and art dedicated to botany.
2. Buchart Gardens
A kaleidoscope of color beckons visitors to Buchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia. With over 900 flowering plants on resplendent display, this National Historic Site offers rose-draped arbors, sunken garden beds, immaculate flagstone paths, and imaginatively shaped organic statuary, all framed by a mountainous backdrop.
Don’t miss the Ross Fountain, which is installed in the lower reservoir and changes every few years. The magnificent slopes of greenery and flowers that surround it make it a magical place to reflect and hike.
3. Villa d’Este, Italian Gardens
In Tivoli, Italy, the Villa d’Este gardens originally served as a baroque monastery but now attract thousands of visitors each year who delight in the pleasing arrangements of flowers, plants, and trees.
Interspersed among the flora, guests find hundreds of fountains, grottos, statues, and other attractions.
4. Kirstenbosch Gardens
Covering 36 hectares of Cape Town, South Africa, the Kirstenbosch Gardens boast more than 7,000 plant species. Most of the plants are indigenous to South Africa, though some are grown in the Botanical Society Conservatory, a glass-walled greenhouse designed to protect the plants that are native to less hospitable regions of Africa.
The Kirstenbosch Gardens feature wilder, more primitive grounds than most of the other famous gardens in the world. Touring the fields of flowers and the trails lined by trees feels like an expedition through a vast wilderness rather than a trek through a planned space.
5. Powerscourt Estate Gardens
Conceived nearly three centuries ago, the Powerscourt Estate Gardens in Wicklow Ireland features luxurious, beech-lined pathways, fish ponds, formal flower gardens, fountains, bird baths, and plenty of benches for visitors who want to rest while they take in the view.
Elegant statuary and refined terraces seem like parts of the landscape, and the Wicklow Mountains rise against the horizon like the frame surrounding a priceless painting.
Designing with plants and landscaping
The most beautiful and stunning gardens in the world offer insight into the possibilities of designing with plants and landscaping. If you can’t visit them yourself, photographs and descriptions might still inspire you to take a leaf from their designers’ books.