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.

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

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 + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery

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

Couple create a European-style garden paradise in Waconia + Photo Gallery

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

Beautiful Gardens: Secret garden grows in unlikely setting in Eagan + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery

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.

Beautiful Gardens winner: Artistry amid the cornfields in Shakopee + Photo Gallery

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' + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery

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

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 + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery

A Plymouth couple turned an unfortunate incident into inspiration for a garden transformation.

Beautiful Gardens: Elysian couple create a path to tranquility + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery

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 + Photo Gallery + Video

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 + Photo Gallery

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

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

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

Two Plymouth gardeners combine their love for roses and waterfalls into a lavish landscape.

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.

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.