The Garden Landscape Guide

Colonial Williamsburg Gardens

Williamsburg was settled in 1633 and became the capital of the Crown Colony. It declined after Virginia moved its capital to Richmond in 1780 but remains an independent city, with one of America's oldest universities. The city was named in honour of William III. Colonial Williamsburg is a restored and re-created area of the city, funded by John D Rockefeller after 1926. Most of the garden areas are historical re-creations (of Dutch renaissance styles), made without detailed information about the original layouts. The gardens of the Governor's Palace, restored by the landscape architect Arthur Shurfliff, draw more from Dutch gardens in Holland than from gardens influenced by Holland in England. They make extensive use of clipped hedges, rectangular parterres and garden species which were used in the early eighteenth century. Some 25 smaller gardens are also open to the public and another 75 can be seen by appointment.

Colonial Parkway, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, VA 23187

All year, Daily, 9am to 5.30pm

Entrance fee

Visit the Colonial Williamsburg Gardens website

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Designers and Influences


  • about 7 years by Deborah Hammond 3 / 5

    The real draw is the community created with gardens that (nearly) represent how people lived more than 200 years ago. I especially liked the herb and kitchen gardens in the back of the 'middle-class' homes over the more formal gardens of the governor's house. Sign up for one of the tours that includes both buildings and gardens. The docents are great, creating a vivid picture of how the first settlers lived.

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Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg Gardens Governor's Palace. Photograph © Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
John Blair Garden, Colonial Williamsburg Gardens John Blair Garden. Photograph © Colonial Williamsburg Foundation