Whether or not you have the proverbial green thumb, you can’t deny that a beautiful garden is the ultimate calming oasis.
Whether it’s filled with colorful plots of fragrant blooms or neat rows of towering trees, the public gravitates to these spaces across the globe.
Luckily, for anyone in need of a sweet-smelling escape, the world is chock-full of architectural gardens that make even the busiest cities feel serene.
Some are old and have been firmly planted in their cities of residence for hundreds of years, while others are technological achievements of the 21st century, but all of them are equally beloved.
About two hours outside of London, Cliveden house was home to quite a few of the world’s wealthiest people, from English royalty to William Waldorf Astor, who purchased the estate for more than $1.25 million in 1893.
Nearly 100 years later, Cliveden House became a luxury hotel, but aside from the public’s ability to book a suite for a week-long vacation, not much has changed—especially the 376 acres of Grade I-listed formal gardens and woodlands.
They may be on Cliveden’s estate, but they’re owned, managed, and tended to by the National Trust.
Nassau, the Bahamas
Though all Four Seasons resorts boast the hotel group’s signature luxury, they’re all designed with the location in mind.
Case in point: The ocean club, A four seasons resort, Bahamas along Nassau Harbour.
Most hotels’ pièces de résistance are typically either the lobbies or top-floor suites, but at this historic spot, the centerpiece is the garden.
Dubbed The Cloisters because of the stately presence of the 12-century open-air arches, this particular garden is full of antiques, including works by Lorenzo Bartolini.
If the Neoclassical-style Petit Trianon looks fit for royalty, that’s because it was King Louis XVI’s gift to his young queen, Marie Antoinette.
Built between 1762 and 1768 by architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, Petit Trianon resides within the gardens of the king’s own palace, which was called the Grand Trianon.
When Marie Antoinette accepted the gift, her first order of business was replacing her husband’s work with an Anglo-Oriental garden.
Throughout the rest of her life, she continued to embellish her beloved garden.
Known as the contemporary inventor of vertical hydroponics gardens, Patrick Blanc is a French botanist whose green work is on display worldwide.
His most notable work, however, is scattered throughout his home country—especially in Paris.
L’Oasis d’Aboukir, for instance, was a rather ordinary structure on the corner of Rue des Petits Carreaux and Rue d’Aboukir and is now one of the most photographed street corners in the whole city.
Outfitted in plants of various green shades, the windowless wall is certainly a sight to see within the City of Lights.
Formerly an early 20th-century power station called Central Del Mediodía, the striking building, now CaixaForum Madrid is an art museum.
However, unlike the museums around it—the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, some of CaixaForum Madrid’s art is outside: One of the walls is covered in a neatly organized collection of living plants that connect the historic building and the Paseo del Prado, which has recently been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
For a unique home situated among an 18-acre meadow, the creatives at CLB Architects looked to old-school dogtrot barns with two parts: One, which comprises the living spaces, is built along the east-west axis to take full advantage of the soft southern light, and the second is an artistically constructed garage.
The two are connected by way of a heroic porch with an open breezeway that houses low-to-the-ground greenery.
The famous green wall in the building that houses Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Economics is considered nothing more than a “greenwash” by some but a direct response to climate change by others.
Perhaps, though, it’s as decorative as it is beneficial. After all, there’s no denying that it’s beautiful or that it reduces energy consumption.
New York City, New York
Equal parts architectural garden and floating park, New York City’s Little Island was an eight-year-long project conceptualized by London-based designer Thomas Heatherwick, who also completed the Vessel in Hudson Yards.
He looked to his homeland’s classic English landscapes and decided to give the 2.4-acre Little Island some varying topography to make it feel more like an actual park.
It may not be the city’s biggest park, but it boasts more than just a collection of trees.
There are two performance venues, one of which can fit up to 687 guests and the other 200.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In the Jardim Botânico, an ivy-covered monument for Friar Leandro do Sacramento sets the mood for the whole park.
Founded in 1808 for the specific purpose of acclimating spices like nutmeg, pepper, and cinnamon, all of which were imported from the West Indies, the garden was considered too beautiful to be hidden from the public, so in 1822, it became a spectacle for everyone to enjoy.
Housing about 6,500 species (some of which are now endangered) that grow across a whopping 130 acres, the garden is one of the city’s well-protected gems.
Concealed behind a highly manicured jungle of palms, an architectural garden in a hidden enclave of an intracoastal-facing, five-bedroom private residence creates an unmistakable sense of zen.
In fact, the architect, Allison Paladino, president and CEO of her multidisciplinary firm, Paladino Rudd Interior Design, calls the sprawling space the “zen garden.”
She designed a luxurious oasis where fountains spill water by way of two asymmetrical troughs and a water wall donning giant bricks, thus creating a gentle, babbling choir.
The Rubens at the police is doing more than its part to counteract climate change: It has covered a 1,148-square-foot exterior wall in more than 10,000 herbaceous plants, creating a literal living wall in the middle of London.
The living wall does everything from keeping the luxe hotel cool in the summer and warm in the winter to improving air quality in the neighborhood.
Airports aren’t usually somewhere people want to stay and hang out.
Some, though, are an exception because their design is too unique to ignore. Jewel Changi Airport’s Shiseido Forest Valley is one such example.
The placement of such an extravagant installation makes sense considering Singapore is known worldwide as the Garden City.
It may be an attraction meant to draw visitors in, but it’s first and foremost a sanctuary.
Its west trail, for instance, with blinking lights that illuminate the trees, quiet music, and the delicious scent of SHISEIDO Ultimune fragrance, complete the experience.
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