Beautiful Gardens

There are some spectacular private gardens around the Twin Cities. We discover several each year in our Beautiful Gardens contest. From October to April, we'll bring you into one Beautiful Garden a month.

Home & Garden
October 19
A statue is framed by a stone circle in Tom Hayden and Jay Peterson’s back yard.

Minnetonka garden has many moods — and a winning design

A Minnetonka garden is a study in contrasts, from rugged native plants in front to manicured, formal "rooms" in back.
Home & Garden
March 24
Kathy Freeman’s carefully planned garden flows seamlessly from the front of her St. Paul yard to the back.

Beauty secrets and shortcuts of an artfully composed garden in St. Paul

A mishap inspired a St. Paul woman to create — and refine — her artfully composed garden.
Home & Garden
January 20
The koi pond in Karen and Emery Koenig garden in their home in Waconia, Minn.

Couple create a European-style garden paradise in Waconia

Inspired by living overseas, a couple created a European-style paradise in Waconia.
Variety
April 23, 2016
The secret terraced garden in Eagan is small in size but packed with color and points of interest.

Beautiful Gardens: Secret garden grows in unlikely setting in Eagan

An Eagan couple transformed a small "useless space" in their backyard into an enchanted retreat.
Variety
March 21, 2016
Reid Smith, left, and LaWayne Leno designed and tend their sprawling multitiered gardens, filled with vibrant annuals and perennials, in their Dellwoo

Dellwood yard is for the birds — and certified by National Wildlife Federation

It took a pair of Dellwood gardeners years of hard work to transform their suburban lot into a wildlife sanctuary, with restored wetlands surrounding two ponds. Now it's a paradise of blooms and habitat — and one of our Beautiful Gardens winners.
Variety
January 23, 2016
Mike and Kathy Pedersen's Shakopee gardens are an oasis of colorful perennials and hosta bordering a stream and pond. Provided

Beautiful Gardens winner: Artistry amid the cornfields in Shakopee

A Shakopee couple transformed a piece of farmland into a fertile oasis of hosta and other perennials.
Variety
January 22, 2016
A view of the landscaped koi pond.

Beautiful Gardens: Shoreview couple's haven is 'our treasure to share'

A Shoreview couple welcome guests to their whimsical cottage garden, which beckons with waterfalls, a playhouse and flea-market finds.
Variety
January 22, 2016
The couple decided to keep their existing trees, shrubs and plants — then rearrange them to complement the new house.

A Medford, Minn., garden so nice, they planted it twice

When a hands-on couple decided to build a new home on their Medford farmstead, they dug up their plants and rebuilt the garden, too. "Hundreds of plants … hostas … daylilies. Any perennial I had, I moved," Cyndi Maas said.
Variety
October 10, 2015
John and Carrie Duba's acreage on a hill overlooks the Cannon River Valley and includes a patio with pond and two-tiered vegetable garden.

Beautiful Gardens: Edibles take starring role at hilltop garden in Northfield

The ingredients for the homemade hors d'oeuvres and desserts at a Northfield couple's recent cocktail party were locally sourced — harvested from their vegetable beds, which sit on a picturesque hilltop with a panoramic view overlooking the Cannon River.
Variety
August 1, 2015
Garden with a view:  John and Carrie Duba made the most of their Cannon River Valley views when constructing their garden in Northfield.

From Minneapolis to Northfield, here are our most beautiful gardens

This year's winning gardens in our annual Beautiful Gardens contest run the gamut, from a haven for wildlife to an oasis for grandkids.
Variety
July 31, 2015

Gallery: Beautiful Gardens winners

Here are reader-submitted photos for the winners in the Star Tribune's annual Beautiful Gardens contest.
Home & Garden
April 18, 2015
Retired science teacher Deb Dunn-Silis shares her well-manicured Lakeville gardens and knowledge with students and neighbor kids. Deb Dunn Silis gives

Ex-science teacher has formula for beautiful garden

A retired high school teacher capitalized on her scientific curiosity, passion for arborvitae and summer breaks to make a barren lot beautiful.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Nancy Reichert-Sisson, a self-educated gardener, has nearly two decades of experience in her Bloomington garden. “I always say that I have a differe

Bloomington garden designed by nature

By taking a survival-of-the-fittest approach, a Bloomington woman is creating a free-flowing, ever-changing garden where nature is in control.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Beautiful Garden contest winners Jim and Sally Strand tend an Asian-inspired garden complete with 23 distinct planting areas in their Plymouth yard.

Beautiful Gardens: Plymouth couple create an Asian-inspired haven

A Plymouth couple turned an unfortunate incident into inspiration for a garden transformation.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
A woodchip path, which winds through gardenscapes to Lake Tustin, was designed by Dan and Nancy Engebretson in the common area of their townhome devel

Beautiful Gardens: Elysian couple create a path to tranquility

Gardeners Dan and Nancy Engebretson regarded an unfinished, weed-infested walking path as an opportunity, not an eyesore. So they planted what has become a mini-arboretum that draws people from the neighborhood.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
A sprinkler whirled last August to water the vegetables, fruits and herbs growing in Joyce Johannson’s and Brian MacDonald’s front yard in Linden

Minneapolis couple's garden is a feast for the eyes – and table

A couple joined forces to create a pair of distinctly different urban gardens – a productive front-yard plot and a tranquil back-yard retreat.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
John Humleker installed lighting to highlight the “hobbit house” he built and the surrounding water garden of lilies, grasses and other aquatic pl

Beautiful Gardens: A fanciful landscape in a small lot

A Minneapolis couple didn't let a compact city yard stop them from creating a fanciful landscape of waterfalls, shade and sun beds, and even a hobbit house.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
A formal knot garden, inspired by one that gardeners Barb and Charlie Green saw in London, is just one of the showpieces in their Edina landscape.

Edina couple collaborate on ambitious collection of plants, plots

One garden was not enough for Barb and Charlie Green of Edina. But unlike some gardeners who expand to create more of the same, the Greens are always game to try something different.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Mike and Mary Kulseth have replaced turf with cottage-style beds, water features and shaded woodland gardens, creating a pleasing amalgam of texture,

Beginner's luck for gardeners in Andover

Self-taught gardeners transformed their suburban back yard from green turf into a colorful oasis to become winners of our Beautiful Gardens contest.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
After decades of work, Alice Menge and Dick Sherwood’s backyard landscape goes up, up and away between their screen house and the two-story house in

Beautiful Gardens: In this urban oasis, no grass is allowed

A St. Paul couple have achieved the improbable: a lush, low-maintenance garden that fills every square inch of their yard.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Eileen Troxel and her husband, Bill, in the vegetable garden behind their St. Paul home. It produces edibles for her summer table and fodder for her f

Formal vegetable garden in St. Paul is beautiful, productive

St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood is a long way from the French countryside. But Eileen and Bill Troxel have managed to create a little slice of Provence in their back yard.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
This rose withstood a beetle infestation.

Beautiful Gardens: Two Plymouth gardeners create place of peace

Two Plymouth gardeners combine their love for roses and waterfalls into a lavish landscape.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
A large waterfall is the focal point of the front-yard garden, where Fluer mixes colors freely. “Nature doesn’t have a palette,” she noted.

Marcia Fluer's beautiful garden in Golden Valley

Marcia Fluer, of TV news fame, now gets her hands dirty in her Golden Valley garden, a collaboration with her husband, a train hobbyist.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Diane Erdmann’s back yard is a serene haven of overarching branches, curved pathways, running water and an array of trees, shrubs and perennials. Fi

Beautiful Garden: A garden plotted, planted to be at one with nature

Starting with a blank slate 15 years ago, Diane Erdmann crafted spaces that fit in with nature – and the neighborhood. She calls her sloping south Minneapolis back yard "a mix of architecture and 'let it happen,' " with volunteer plants strewn throughout.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Gardener Jeanne Thatcher at the gate leading to her back-yard garden. She accents with garden art, but sparingly. “I want flowers to be the emphasis

Art background creates a painterly garden

Schooled in art, a gardener relies on what she learned to create beauty in her own back yard.
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