The South's Best Gardens

Dream Garden with a Chicken Coop
Photo: Erica George Dines

Your home may be your castle, but your garden should always be your retreat. Here are the South's best gardens, filled with color, beauty, and new ideas to fill you with excitement and to give you fresh new ideas. From an Edible Container Garden to a Backyard Retreat , each of these gorgeous green spaces can be a source of garden inspiration. Lush and luxuriant, these gardens can be functional and filled with edibles, as in the Eco-Friendly Kitchen Garden, or simply statements of classical elegance like the American Boxwood Garden and the Stunning Terrace Rose Garden. We hope you enjoy the South's best gardens and see them as sources for garden inspiration and beautiful approaches to outdoor living.

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Atlanta Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden Courtyard
Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson

The cottage garden courtyard ties the orginal home to the addition and has an intimate scale. Partially hidden from the street below, it creates intrigue—only the stone wall, gate, and a few plants can be seen. As you approach the front door, the 22 1/2- by 27-foot space comes into view as a garden within the larger landscape.

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Coral Gables Garden

Formal Parterre Garden
Photo: Roger Foley

Geometric planting beds (parterres) in the front yard showcase annuals, perennials, and evergreen shrubs. A gorgeous purple-flowering bougainvillea vine is trained against the home's front wall. The formality out front contrasts strikingly with the flowing beds in back. This is a garden with two distinct faces.

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Suburban Kitchen Garden

Suburban Kitchen Garden
Photo: Roger Foley

This Atlanta garden combines lip-smacking produce with eye-popping color for the perfect escape to relax and entertain. Clipped 'Nellie R. Stevens' hollies and boxwoods form the walls, while a trio of large rolled-rim pots containing boxwood topiaries, peppers, and herbs anchors the edible garden.

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Rooftop Garden Pergola

Rooftop Garden Pergola
Photo: Roger Foley

This rooftop dining area is situated under a beautiful white pergola, right in the middle of fresh seasonal flowers, permanent trees and shrubs, and of course, edibles—which thrive on rooftops.

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Edible Container Garden

Edible Container Garden
Photo: Roger Foley

Galvanized tubs form the backbone of this organic container garden behind a North Carolina restaurant.

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Boxwood Courtyard Garden

Boxwood Courtyard Garden
Photo: Roger Foley

A sloping side lawn offered the ideal place for a garden between a new porch and an arbor, creating intimate and shaded beauty without burdensome maintenance.

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Blooming Courtyard

Blooming Courtyard
Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson

Loose borders such as these appear more dramatic when sandwiched between hedged and tree-form evergreens such as yaupon hollies and tall, coarse-textured bay laurels.

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The Secluded Garden

The Secluded Garden
Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson

This small, secluded garden, tucked into trees and shrubs two steps up from the terrace, is a garden within a garden. Splashing water from a fountain and a color scheme centered on white, chartreuse, and green make it feel cool and private.

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Lakeside Garden

Lakeside Garden
Photo: Ralph Anderson

This central Alabama garden is a labyrinth of intersecting trails, meandering streams, hideaways, and surprises. Each waterfall, wildflower, and moss-shawled boulder looks like it's been nestled here since God made Earth.

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Chaste Tree Garden

Chaste Tree Garden
Photo: Roger Foley

A small tree with showy blue flowers that grows practically everywhere, chaste trees make a great backdrop to any Southern garden.

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American Boxwood Garden

American Boxwood Garden
Photo: Ralph Anderson

One of the largest boxwoods, an American boxwood ( Buxus sempervirens ) can grow to more than 15 feet tall and wide, and it's long-lived.

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Demilune Garden

Demilune Garden
Photo: Robert Rausch

A double row of Korean boxwoods rings the center fountain. A corridor of clipped ironwood trees ( Carpinus caroliniana ) and American boxwoods creates the outer wall of this semicircular garden. 'Ryan's Yellow' mums tumble over the stone retaining wall along the pergola.

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Side Terrace

Side Terrace
Photo: Ralph Anderson

An ornate urn fountain serves as this garden's focus while pavers bordered by dwarf mondo grass lend a riveting pattern to the space.

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Formal Lawn

Formal Lawn
Photo: Ralph Anderson

Removing the lower limbs of these tall crepe myrtles reveals the beauty of the trunks. A fountain adds the peaceful sound of splashing water. Bright green grass stands out when edged with dark green boxwoods.

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Shady Garden

Lath House
Photo by: Van Chaplin

A lath house defines the shade garden and leads to a lushly planted urn in the color garden in this historic North Carolina garden.

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Backyard Retreat

Build Good Bones
Photo by: Ralph Anderson

Without organization, a hundred different perennials can look like yard salad. That's where structures—pathways, evergreens, walls, hedges, edging, small trees, and ponds—come in. They define spaces, direct views, and lend interest even when the garden is dormant.

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Climbing Vines

Vines: Growing Up
Sylvia Martin

For a backyard that will generate buzz long after the party's ended, add a final touch that's unique to your home. Ideas include climbing vines in an eye-catching pattern, a one-of-a-kind water feature, or a pretty painted floor. Guests may never put their finger on quite what it is that sets your yard apart.

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Eco-Friendly Kitchen Garden

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Garden
Photo: Ralph Anderson

Today's kitchen garden is a far cry from the rows of beans and corn that your grandparents knew so well. Designed as integral parts of the landscape, these attainable luxuries are sophisticated and space savvy. Raised beds and containers make the process easier, ensuring a higher rate of success for beginners. Vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruit mingle beautifully to form this top-notch kitchen garden.

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Trinket Garden

An Eclectic Entry
Ralph Anderson

This arched garden entry, inspired by the bell carillon from First English Lutheran Church in Austin, was constructed from an eclectic mix of materials—and trinkets—including old brick, cut limestone, glass, shells, fossils, statues, marbles, and even Mr. Potato Head.

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Cottage Courtyard Garden

Cottage Courtyard Garden
Photo: Van Chaplin

These up-front flowers are woven into a tapestry of shrubs, roses, natives, herbs, and vines transforming the front yard of this Tudor cottage from boring to charming.

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Stunning Terrace Rose Garden

Stunning Terrace Rose Garden
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

This elegant rose garden is located on one of two terraces carved into a South-facing bank of the Tenessee River. Its location provides fertile ground for growing roses, perennials, vines, vegetables, and fruits.

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Elegant Boxwood Garden

Elegant Boxwood Garden
Robbie Caponetto

An elegant potager (kitchen garden) with an intricate knot of clipped boxwoods in its center acts as a focal point for the garden. At the end of this terrace rests a paved sitting area surrounding a fire pit. What better place to sip a glass of wine as the amber light from the setting sun ignites the riverside trees?

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Classical Virginia Garden

Stunning Virginia Garden
Ralph Lee Anderson

A proper upbringing is one way to describe garden design tradition in Virginia. Its symmetrically planned allées and vista views have a pedigree back to the ancients. Who can argue with several millennia of success or Jefferson's own lasting local touch?

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Trim & Tidy Boxwood Garden

Trim & Tidy Boxwood Garden
Photo: Roger Foley

Massive boxwoods more than 100 years old act as the backbone to this breathtaking garden, while a geometric boxwood parterre lines the lower terrace.

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Dream Garden with a Chicken Coop

Dream Garden with a Chicken Coop
Erica George Dines

An Atlanta couple and their son team up to build a multifaceted garden that's rooted to the house. Each outdoor area links to a room in the house, bringing the outside in.

See more of this Dream Garden

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Lush Garden Lawn

Lush Garden Lawn
Photo: Roger Foley

This farmhouse swimming pool sits above a circular lawn surrounded by perennial beds. A bluestone terrace off the pool is shaded by a pergola.

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