There’s something remarkably peaceful about a well cared for garden. Austin
has its share of nature lovers, and that’s reflected in the beauty of its public parks and gardens. If they inspire you, consider finding out if there’s one in your neighborhood
, or start one yourself.
Zilker Botanical Gardens
The garden center of Zilker Botanical Gardens started with $50 raised during a Violet Crown Garden Club fundraiser selling firewood. Now sprawling over 30 acres, it’s a great place to take the family. Wander from the blacksmith’s shop to the coy pond, past the bamboo to the rose garden. Then check out the prehistoric garden, complete with dinosaur statues. Go past a waterfall before finding the butterflies on their migration through Austin. The best part about this garden: they allow dogs.
Zilker Botanical Gardens, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 477 8672
Hours: Daily 7am – 7pm (last entry at 6:30pm)
Cost: $2 Austin residents, $3 Non-residents, $1 children & seniors
Prehistoric Garden, Zilker Botanical Gardens © Jenaveve Hunter
Umlauf Sculpture Garden
Bronze sculptures of Charles Umlauf are surrounded by a serene xeriscape garden, waterfall, ponds and streams. His works span a lifetime; the earliest in the collection is from 1939, and his styles and subject matters vary and grow until 1985. The garden is spread across four acres with many spots to sit and ponder. It also includes a museum where you can see an exhibition or watch a video about the artist’s life. And in case you’re wondering, it’s totally fine if you (gently) touch the outdoor sculptures.
Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E Lee Road, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 445 5582
Hours: Tues – Fri, 10am – 4pm, Sat & Sun Noon – 4pm
Cost: $5 adults, $3 seniors, $1 students, under 12 free
Mother and Child, by Charles Umlauf. Umlauf Sculpture Garden © Jenaveve Hunter
Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
Near the entrance to the Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve is an early 20th century cottage with peafowl and beautifully maintained gardens. Short stone walls reign in the blooming chaos, and lily ponds are located in the heart of the two acres of park. There’s a sundial with roses surrounding it, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see the snow white peacock out and about. The preserve is an additional 21 acres of trees and trails.
Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve, 3505 W 35th Street, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 974 6700
Hours: Open daily, park is closed 10pm – 5am
Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve © Jenaveve Hunter | © Jenaveve Hunter
The Contemporary Austin - Laguna Gloria
The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria
The grounds of Laguna Gloria are a popular spot for weddings, with contemporary artworks over 14 acres of tamed Texas greenery. The converted estate of Clara Driscoll houses exhibitions, and admission is included with the grounds fee. It is located on the Lake Austin waterfront, just down the road from the Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve.
The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, 3809 West 35th Street, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 458 8191
Grounds Hours: Mon – Sat, 9am – 5pm, Sun 10am – 5pm
Cost: $5 adults, $3 students & seniors, under 18 free
The Contemporary Austin, Laguna Gloria © Jenaveve Hunter
Lady Bird Wildflower Center
If you’ve think bluebonnets look amazing, then thank Lady Bird Johnson. Her appreciation of natural and native beauty is the focus at this center, with gorgeous displays of Texas greenery on over 15 acres of gardens. They host events and exhibitions as the LBWC, and you can see ‘total resource conservation’ in action. Beyond the gardens are nearly 300 acres of grounds, including walking trails and meadows.
Lady Bird Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 232 0100
Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm
Cost: $10 adults, $8 seniors & students, $4 kids 5 – 17, under 5 free
Kenny Dorham’s Backyard
If you find yourself in the East End district and want a green spot to eat your food truck plate, Kenny Dorham’s Backyard has a perfectly little and splendid garden with a couple of tables. The garden is at one end of the site, with food trucks and a stage on the rest. DiverseArts host events in the name of the East Austin legendary jazz trumpeter, for which children are free and family discounts are offered.
Kenny Dorham’s Backyard, 1106 East 11th Street, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 538 5657
Cost: Garden is free to sit, events vary
Kenny Dorham’s Backyard © Jenaveve Hunter
Zen Garden at the Asian American Resource Center
The Asian American Resource Center has two small gardens to enjoy. One is the intergenerational garden, where members of all ages work together on projects, including many Asian plants. The other is a small rock garden, complete with raked rocks. There are items on display in the front lobby from many Asian countries, including musical instruments, art, dolls, and textiles. They host events for the community, including meditation, a food and heritage festival on Saturday, May 14.
Zen Garden at the Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 974 1700
Hours: Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat, 9am – 5pm, Wed & Thurs 9am – 9pm
Zen Garden at the Asian American Resource Center © Jenaveve Hunter
North Austin Community Garden
North Austin Community Garden benefits from the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places program. It features work by Thoughtbarn artists Lucy Begg and Robert Gay that anchors the plots with color. There are plots available if you’re in the area.
North Austin Community Garden, 1000 W. Rundberg Lane, Austin, TX, USA
North Austin Community Garden © Jenaveve Hunter
Festival Beach Community Garden
Over 80 gardeners grow fruits, vegetables, flowers and other plants on the two acres of the Festival Beach Community Garden. It includes many little nooks for getting to know your neighbors, including benches, tables and a bbq pit. Located near the corner of Clermont and Waller Street.
Festival Beach Community Garden, 35 Waller Street, Austin, TX, USA +1 512 917 8688