Making Buffalo a great garden destination

Garden Walk Buffalo is a free, self-guided tour of 406 Buffalo gardens, the largest garden tour in America. Held annually on the last weekend of July, in 2017 it will be Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"There are Japanese gardens, English gardens, Russian gardens (i.e., barely controlled wildernesses) and what I would call Buffalo gardens - eclectic, funky mixes in which found objects and exotic-looking surrounding rooftops figure prominently." - Atlantic.com

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In Buffalo, you’ll find small urban gardens that pack a big punch — including cheerfully brash juxtapositions of colorful perennials and unique annuals, minimal or no lawns, and creative uses of found objects and architectural artifacts as sculpture. A Buffalo-style garden will have the patina of a well-used, customized space, often with complete disregard for garden design conventions. Buffalo gardeners take advantage of the sides of houses and fences by hanging artwork, sculptures, grates, mirrors, plants and more— incorporating the impressive and diverse architecture found throughout every neighborhood.

Garden Walk has become one of Western New York’s most anticipated summer happenings. 60,000-plus visitors join us each year, as we show off our city’s beautiful homes and gardens.

Visitors flock to Buffalo’s West Side to pick up their maps and start walking through the gardens, which are located in clusters within a three-mile radius, with two headquarters at strategic points along the way.

Garden Walk rejuvenates streets, re-energizes neighborhoods, increases property values, and takes the chill out of Buffalo's image.

Here are just some of the places and things you're likely to see during the two days of Garden Walk Buffalo:

  • Flower, rose, vegetable, herb and organic gardens; Japanese, English and water gardens; butterfly, pocket, container and rock gardens; sidewalk and community gardens.
  • Multiple-level decks, pergolas, espaliers, outdoor kitchens, grape arbors, lighting schemes, fountains, wall murals, sculpture, koi ponds, waterfalls, potting sheds, carriage houses, playgrounds, playhouses, treehouses and a putting green.
  • Victorian homes, Civil War-era cottages, secret houses hidden from view and turn-of-the-century mansions, homes by Frank Lloyd Wright and McKim, Mead & White, buildings by H.H. Richardson and Eliel and Eero Saarinen, parkways and traffic circles laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted.
  • The place Teddy Roosevelt took the oath of office, the spot where President McKinley ultimately died, award-winning urban sculpture, unique shopping and dining galore.

The Walk takes place in several communities within the city's limits:

Elmwood Village

A freshly named historic district of the city, the Elmwood Village includes gracious mansions, century-old restored Victorians, charming cottages, splendid apartment buildings, landmark churches, synagogues and chapels, institutes, community centers and an unparalleled array of social services. Its “spine” is the renowned Elmwood Strip, Buffalo’s premier urban shopping district lined with international restaurants, quaint boutiques, a legitimate theater, library, small businesses, diverse bars, bakeries and a new wave of coffee shops. Feel free to wander, for you will find something unique around every corner.

Symphony Circle & Kleinhans Community

Frederick Law Olmsted’s 1874 Symphony “Circle,” now dramatically restored, is the gateway to a wonderfully integrated social, racial, economic and cultural community. With Saarinen’s Kleinhans Music Hall as its backdrop, this area’s historic Victorian-era architecture sets off an eclectic mix of city gardens.

The Cottage District (Summer Street & Union Place)

A close-knit neighborhood best known for its quaint 1850s-1900s brick cottages and Victorian homes and their exquisite gardens.

Historic West Village

Contemporary Victorian-style homes with old-fashioned country and perennial cottage gardens. Prime examples of innovative gardening in small spaces. City Hall’s Art Deco dome lights up the night.

Allentown

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Allentown is the largest and oldest of Buffalo’s historic preservation districts. Architectural styles include Italianate, Queen Anne, Second Empire, Workman’s Cottage, and many more. Allentown is a quaint urban village mixing quiet residential streets with a bustling business district of great shops, restaurants, and nightspots.

Columbus Park/Prospect Hill

This beautiful neighborhood offers architecture dating from the 1850s to the 1950s, as well as a quiet residential oasis steps away from downtown and the Peace Bridge. Many of the homes were built to take advantage of Olmsted’s Front Park, as well as the Niagara River scenery. A statue of Christopher Columbus is placed on the southeast side of Columbus Park, facing Porter Avenue. The neighborhood has been placed on the Preservation League’s Seven to Save list, as a portion of it is threatened with demolition as part of the Peace Bridge expansion project.