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.

Minnesota 'saint' gardener uses plant sales to transform lives of youngsters in Tanzania

Minnesota 'saint' gardener uses plant sales to transform lives of youngsters in Tanzania

Roseville nurse and her plant sales support a school that is raising a nation in Tanzania.
Joan and John Elton in the expansive garden that he created and tends at their home in St. Cloud.

Retired wrestling coach creates a garden of bountiful blooms in St. Cloud

January 18, 2020
After the self-taught horticultural expert retired as St. John's University's longtime wrestling coach, he became its landscape manager.
Top Christine Scotillo and Doug Peine, with their dog Gracie, view their backyard beds shaped by limestone walls. Above Concrete lambs accent the outd

St. Paul garden features landscaped living rooms – one in the center of a pond

November 16, 2018
A small St. Paul backyard boasts various spots for relaxing — including one in the center of a pond.

Minnetonka garden has many moods — and a winning design

October 19, 2018
A Minnetonka garden is a study in contrasts, from rugged native plants in front to manicured, formal "rooms" in back.

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

March 24, 2018
A mishap inspired a St. Paul woman to create — and refine — her artfully composed garden.

Couple create a European-style garden paradise in Waconia

January 20, 2018
Inspired by living overseas, a couple created a European-style paradise in Waconia.

Beautiful Gardens: Secret garden grows in unlikely setting in Eagan

April 23, 2016
An Eagan couple transformed a small "useless space" in their backyard into an enchanted retreat.

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

March 21, 2016
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.

Japanese garden in Minneapolis is steeped in perfection

February 20, 2016
An Asian garden that fills a front yard in Minneapolis took one couple on a journey from (A)mateur to (Z)en.

Beautiful Gardens winner: Artistry amid the cornfields in Shakopee

January 23, 2016
A Shakopee couple transformed a piece of farmland into a fertile oasis of hosta and other perennials.

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

January 22, 2016
A Shoreview couple welcome guests to their whimsical cottage garden, which beckons with waterfalls, a playhouse and flea-market finds.

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

January 22, 2016
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.

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

October 10, 2015
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.

From Minneapolis to Northfield, here are our most beautiful gardens

August 1, 2015
This year's winning gardens in our annual Beautiful Gardens contest run the gamut, from a haven for wildlife to an oasis for grandkids.

Gallery: Beautiful Gardens winners

July 31, 2015
Here are reader-submitted photos for the winners in the Star Tribune's annual Beautiful Gardens contest.

Ex-science teacher has formula for beautiful garden

April 18, 2015
A retired high school teacher capitalized on her scientific curiosity, passion for arborvitae and summer breaks to make a barren lot beautiful.

Bloomington garden designed by nature

April 10, 2015
By taking a survival-of-the-fittest approach, a Bloomington woman is creating a free-flowing, ever-changing garden where nature is in control.

Beautiful Gardens: Plymouth couple create an Asian-inspired haven

April 10, 2015
A Plymouth couple turned an unfortunate incident into inspiration for a garden transformation.

Beautiful Gardens: Elysian couple create a path to tranquility

April 10, 2015
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.

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

April 10, 2015
A couple joined forces to create a pair of distinctly different urban gardens – a productive front-yard plot and a tranquil back-yard retreat.

Beautiful Gardens: A fanciful landscape in a small lot

April 10, 2015
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.

Edina couple collaborate on ambitious collection of plants, plots

April 10, 2015
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.

Beginner's luck for gardeners in Andover

April 10, 2015
Self-taught gardeners transformed their suburban back yard from green turf into a colorful oasis to become winners of our Beautiful Gardens contest.

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

April 10, 2015
A St. Paul couple have achieved the improbable: a lush, low-maintenance garden that fills every square inch of their yard.

Formal vegetable garden in St. Paul is beautiful, productive

April 10, 2015
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.

Beautiful Gardens: Two Plymouth gardeners create place of peace

April 10, 2015
Two Plymouth gardeners combine their love for roses and waterfalls into a lavish landscape.

Marcia Fluer's beautiful garden in Golden Valley

April 10, 2015
Marcia Fluer, of TV news fame, now gets her hands dirty in her Golden Valley garden, a collaboration with her husband, a train hobbyist.

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

April 10, 2015
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.

Art background creates a painterly garden

April 10, 2015
Schooled in art, a gardener relies on what she learned to create beauty in her own back yard.

Beautiful gardens: A labor of love

April 10, 2015
A Champlin couple transformed their back yard from a sandbox to the setting for their wedding reception.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
A "sofa" carved from a tree killed by Dutch elm disease is one of the many focal points in the enchanted Edina garden of Rosanne and Steve Malevich. T

Beautiful gardens: A storybook garden

Starting with a patch of Irish moss, an Edina couple created a fanciful garden worthy of any Hobbit's house.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Chuck and Petra Meinke have been landscaping their Apple Valley home for the past two decades. The large back yard is les labor-intensive than it appe

Growing a sense of place

Beautiful gardens: For the past two decades, a Minnesota couple have been creating a massive, European-influenced shade garden in their suburban yard.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Boxwood shrubs surround raised beds of hybrid tea and shrub roses in Kate Podobinski's Minneapolis garden. "The fragrance reminds me of my grandma's g

Just like grandma used to grow

A granddaughter's sprawling cottage gardens honor the two grandmothers who passed down their cherished plants and wisdom.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Judy Alm has cultivated her Richfield garden for more than 40 years.

Garden reflects gardener

A self-taught gardener paints her exuberant landscape with a free but disciplined hand.
Home & Garden
April 10, 2015
Lee and Jerry Shannon planted colorful shrub roses in the center of pruned boxwoods that shape their formal garden.

From novices to know-it-alls

The Shannons of St. Paul scaled a steep learning curve to create their "collector's garden," which features specimens from around the world.