Must-Visit Gardens in L.A.


Guest post by Francesca Singer presented by LawnStarter 


Photo credit: Sam Kim

With its mellow climate and sunny skies, Los Angeles has more scene-stealers than just its movie stars. Newcomers are amazed that plants in this city pretty much grow themselves, a fact flaunted by every tree-lined boulevard you see. Even if your backyard is a tropical wonderland, L.A. is home to a wealth of must-visit gardens that will inspire and astound all new Angelenos.

Getty Center

Looming large above Brentwood, the Getty Center is a sprawling complex. While some people visit for the delectable goodies inside the galleries, anyone with an appreciation of landscape design will find themselves swooning before they step foot inside the door. The Central Garden is an ever-changing seasonal feast for the senses that's so popularit has its own blog. At the heart of the center are a number of specialty gardens including a cactus and sculpture gardens.

Exposition Park Rose Garden



The rose garden at Exposition Park is vast, fragrant, and dotted with gazebos and alcoves that are perfect for a cozy picnic. A light rail will take you straight there. Once you arrive, you can visit your choice of museums including the Natural History Museum which has a nature walk and butterfly garden of its own.

Virginia Robinson Gardens



This hidden treasure is nestled right into Beverly Hills, but many locals have never even heard of it. Built by department store magnates in the early 20th century, Virginia Robinson bequeathed it to the city before she passed away in the 1970s. You can takea guided tour on weekends, and if you're feeling fancy, you can splurge on a ticket to the all-day garden party thrown at the estate each summer. The money goes to a good cause, in keeping with the philanthropic spirit of the Robinsons.

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden


At the Arboretum, you’ll find plants from all over the world and native California species. There are dozens of gardens and waterfalls to explore as well as architectural landmarks that represent phases of California’s history. Make room for the peacocks as your roam around the grounds. It’s no wonder this is a favorite spot for weddings.

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine



The tranquility and beauty of theSelf-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is a welcome respite from the noise of the city. Follow in the footsteps of Gandhi and Elvis as you pace these resplendent grounds, and let yourself have a (nondenominational) religious experience. A perfect garden to find yourself in.

Storrier Sterns Japanese Garden


The only surviving garden of famed landscape designer Kinzuchi Fujii, this garden was designed and built in the late 1930s. It was then meticulously restored between 2007 and 2013. Featuring a traditional tea house and a 15-foot waterfall, this masterpiece is awe-inspiring.Check in advance, as this dreamy garden is only open Wednesday through Friday and the second and last Sundays each month.

L.A. is famous for the Hollywood sign and theme parks, but without question, it’s also a city of gardens. This list only scratches the surface. If you have the good fortune to live in a city with this kind of living landscape culture, it would be criminal not to get out there and explore. Just pack a lunch and plan for a long, luscious day outdoors.

Francesca Singer is a former farmer & landscape architect who is passionate about plants, design, and travel. When not writing, she can be found working in the garden, wrangling a toddler, or wielding power tools.

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