Must-See American Estate Gardens

Discover some of our favorite gardens and start planning your visits! We’ve selected not-to-be-missed landscapes from California to New York, the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast, and locales in between

Garden lovers, once you’ve explored the landscapes and plantings at Biltmore Estate and Monticello, you’re just getting started. More beautiful American estate gardens await with something for every taste and interest. Whether you love 18th-century plantations, 19th-century grandeur, or 20th-century opulence, there’s an Eden for you. Flower magazine’s editors selected must-see gardens from coast to coast. Scroll through our favorites, plan your trip, and then share YOUR top American estate gardens in the comments below!

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Old Westbury, New York
An early 20th-century Long Island estate with ties to shipping and steel, Old Westbury Gardens remains an English-style respite from city life, beckoning visitors with sprawling lawns, quiet alcoves, and a kaleidoscope of blooms. The 1906, Charles II-style mansion was home to the John S. Phipps family, and is surrounded by 200 acres of gardens, woodlands, and lakes. Photo by Michael Mundy
In addition to stately landscapes and grand walkways, find delights such as the thatched cottage Jay and Margarita Phipps had built for daughter Peggie's 10th birthday. Photo by Michael Mundy
"There's a reason why 25 celebrated movies from Love Story to The Age of Innocence have filmed scenes at Old Westbury Gardens, and it has something to do with the prevailing grandeur."—Tovah Martin
See more of the gardens in "Old Westbury Gardens' Splendor."

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LaGrange, Georgia
In 1916 Fuller E. and Ida Callaway hired architects Neel Reid and Hal Hentz to build a home in a garden of terraces and boxwood parterres started by Sarah Ferrell 75 years earlier. The magnificent 13,000 square foot home still stands in the 19th-century gardens that occupy the hill. Photo Courtesy of Hills & Dales Estate
In addition to restoring and maintaining the Historic Ferrell Garden over the course of the past century, the Callaways added a fountain terrace, a formal ray garden, a grove of native trees and baptismal pool, an herb garden (seen above), and other features to the 35-acre landscape. Photo Courtesy of Hills & Dales Estate

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Wrightstown, Pennsylvania
Garden writer Jack Staub and legendary event and floral designer Renny Reynolds reclaimed the home and gardens of this historic Bucks County property. More than 20 separate gardens encompass about 30 acres of the hundred-acre farm. Along with 19th and early 20th-century barns and farm structures, there's the Federal style Isaiah Warner House. Photo by Rob Cardillo
The perennial garden borders lead out to the pool garden, planted in a soft pastel palette of pinks, blues, whites, and grays in the form of Sedum 'Autumn Joy,' Phlox, Lythrum (purple loosestrife), and Fairy rose. Photo by Rob Cardillo
"As Gertrude Jekyll opined, 'the garden must always curtsy back to the house," and so ours does. Everything includes it, radiates from it, leads back to it, and pays it the homage it is due."—Jack Staub
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Charleston, South Carolina
Located on the Ashley River, America's oldest landscaped gardens were originally Henry Middleton's 18th-century homeplace. The 65 acres of gardens have been described by the Garden Club of America as “the most important and most interesting garden in America.” The 1755 "South Flanker," the lone survivor of the original three-building residence, now houses a history museum. Photo by Meunierd/Shuttterstock.com
Henry Middleton's gardens followed 1700s principles of order and symmetry. Descendants who restored the gardens closely followed the original plans, but added color so that the property is in bloom year round. In spring, azaleas blossom along the banks of the Rice Mill Pond (above). Photo courtesy of the Charleston Area CVB, ExploreCharleston.com

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Miami, Florida
James Deering built his winter estate in South Florida in 1916. The main house, designed by architect Francis Burrell Hoffman, Jr. and modeled after an Italian country villa, sits in 10 acres of parterres and gardens including a Secret Garden, Maze Garden, Theater Garden, and Fountain Garden. The property became a museum in 1935. Photo by Bill Sumner, Courtesy of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Archives
The estate's 10 acres of formal gardens were completed in 1921. They include fountains, sculptures, and lush tropical plantings. Landscape architect Diego Suarez based the gardens on 17th and 18th century Italian and French designs. Photo by Bill Sumner, Courtesy of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Archives

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Bainbridge Island, Washington
Formerly home to Prentice and Virginia Bloedel, the 150 acre property includes more than 80 acres of second-growth forest, a bird marsh, flower-filled glen, moss garden, and one of the top Japanese gardens in the US. The 1920s chateau-style home overlooks Puget Sound. Photo by Rocky Grimes/Shutterstock.com
The Japanese Guest House, designed by architect Paul Hayden Kirk, overlooks the Japanese gardens and opens onto a Zen rock garden. Photo by Rocky Grimes/Shutterstock.com

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Washington, DC
Marjorie Merriweather Post purchased Hillwood in 1955 and made it her home in spring and fall. The 25 acre property sits along Rock Creek Park and includes 13 acres of formal gardens (a rose garden, Japanese style garden, French parterre, the Lunar Lawn (seen here), and putting green). The Georgian-style mansion is now a museum showcasing Post's decorative arts collections. Photo by Maxwell Mackenzie, Courtesy of Hillwood Estate, Museum & Garden
The Japanese-style garden (above) designed by Shogo Myaida, mixes Japanese and American gardening styles as well as plants. The home and gardens feel like a country estate, but at less than 4 miles from the National Mall, are easily included in DC tourism. Photo Courtesy of Hillwood Estate, Museum & Garden

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Edith Wharton's Home, Lenox, Massachusetts
Inspired by her travels abroad, American author Edith Wharton designed gardens on her estate to rival any she had seen overseas. The gardens include a sunken Italian garden, the Lime Walk promenade, a French flower garden, and rock garden. Estate trails traverse a forest setting with views of rock outcroppings and glacial moraines. Photo Courtesy of the The Mount
The sunken "Italian Garden" is planted in greens and whites. It's centerpiece is a simple, stacked stone fountain. Photo by Donna DiMari, Courtesy of the The Mount
"Decidedly, I'm a better landscape gardener than novelist, and this place, every line of which is my own work, far surpasses The House of Mirth."—Edith Wharton
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Nashville, Tennessee
Now a 55-acre botanical garden and museum, Cheekwood was built as the home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek, Sr. The house and gardens were designed by architect Bryant Fleming and built between 1929 and 1932. The Georgian style house is still surrounded by Fleming's terraced gardens, formal planting beds, and reflecting pools as well as more recent garden spaces.

Stroll beneath the arches of the Color Garden (above) and catch the breezes and mountain views from the Wisteria Arbor.

"Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is beautiful in every season. I love that it has top-notch art exhibitions like Chihuly and William Edmondson, and it’s a great place to stroll and refresh yourself."—Interior Designer Jonathan Savage
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Woodside, California
The Filoli Country House and 16 acres of formal gardens sit on a 650-acre estate south of San Francisco. The house, designed by architect Willis Polk for gold-mine owner William Bourn, has more than 40 rooms including a 75 foot long ballroom. The property may look familiar to many from the opening credits of Dynasty. Photo by Lynn Y/Shutterstock.com
Modeled after English country estates, Filoli's landscape features formal spaces in the Georgian and English Renaissance style such as the Sunken Garden (seen above with the Santa Cruz mountains in the background), a kitchen garden, and orchards. The property retains one of the world's best-preserved English Renaissance style gardens. Photo by Min C. Chiu/Shutterstock.com
Grosse Point Shores, Michigan
Edsel and Eleanor Ford built their impressive home and garden on the shores of Lake St. Clair. Architect Albert Kahn designed the house in 1926, but in the early 1930s, designer Walter Dorwin Teague transformed several of the rooms into sleek Modern spaces. Photo Courtesy of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
Between 1926 and 1932 landscape designer and conservationist Jens Jensen designed a naturalistic landscape to incorporate the Ford's home into its lakeside site. His plan included water vistas, woodlands, meadows, wetlands, and a Flower Lane, along with more formal elements such as a rose garden. Photo Courtesy of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
Be sure to see Flower's feature on Skylands, the Ford estate in Maine, and Martha Stewart's summer retreat.
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insider guide new orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana
The gardens at Longue Vue were designed for Edgar and Edith Stern by Ellen Biddle Shipman, known as “the dean of American women landscape architects.” Architects William and Geoffrey Platt completed the Classical Revival style home in 1942. The house museum includes a notable collection of Modern art. Photo courtesy of Longue Vue House and Gardens.

Ellen Biddle Shipman began work in 1935 and continued until 1971, developing 14 garden areas and 22 fountains on the property. Photo by Ryan Lips, Courtesy of Longue Vue House and Gardens

"The fact that Ellen Biddle Shipman was the landscape architect is reason enough to visit Longue Vue House and Gardens. Each of the gardens has the intimate feel of a room, and I especially love the Wild Garden bursting with Louisiana irises."—New Orleans Native, Designer Angèle Parlange
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Theodore, Alabama
Perched on the Fowl River not far from Mobile Bay, sits a spectacular 65-acre botanical, floral, and architectural wonderland. Coca-Cola bottling magnate Walter D. Bellingrath purchased a rustic fishing camp in 1917 as a place to “learn how to play.” Soon his wife, Bessie, started importing flowers from their residence in Mobile, and in 1927 the couple hired local architect George B. Rogers to complete its transformation. Photo Courtesy of Bellingrath Gardens and Home
Bellingrath Gardens features spreading live oak trees, elaborate floral displays, and attractive water features with fountains, urns, pools, and spills. The property stays in bloom year-round with banks of white and pink azaleas in the spring; a giant circular display of red, white, and yellow roses in the summer; mounds of polychromatic chrysanthemums in the fall; and robust camellias in bewildering variety come winter. Photo Courtesy of Bellingrath Gardens and Home
See John S. Sledge's essay on Bellingrath, "Southern Comfort at Bellingrath Gardens."

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More Inspiration to Pack Your Bags and Go