Explore Our Favorite Outdoor Rooms
Written By Jean Sexton
In Our Gardens
Every season offers a wonderful reason to explore our favorite outdoor rooms at Biltmore, but summer is an especially perfect time to do so.
Frederick Law Olmsted
Known as the “father of American landscape architecture,” Frederick Law Olmsted had definitive ideas about landscape design.
You can see many of his innovative ideas in New York City’s Central Park and here at Biltmore, which was his last professional project before his death in 1903.
Enjoy the outdoors, by design
For the magnificent estates he landscaped, Olmsted preferred longer-than-usual approach drives and separate garden spaces or “outdoor rooms” that were distinct from one another with no blending of styles.
The methods Olmsted used for creating special spaces are very noticeable in spring and when the gardens and grounds begin to bloom with color.
Explore our favorite outdoor rooms
When Biltmore employees were asked to share their favorite outdoor rooms around the estate, their answers were a tribute to all that Olmsted envisioned to enchant the Vanderbilts and their guests more than a century ago.
Parker Andes, Director of Horticulture, has a favorite spot tucked away in the Italian Garden.
“There’s a terra cotta cherub fountain in the last little turf area near the end of the garden,” said Parker. “Most people miss this treasure because they don’t walk all the way down there.”
Cathy Barnhardt, former Floral Displays Manager for Biltmore, is now retired and enjoying the estate as an Annual Passholder.
“The Spring Garden is like a little valley that opens up off the beaten path. The grass gets green there first and flowers bloom early,” said Cathy. “It’s a great place to spend time with your family.”
Another special location mentioned by several staff members is a bench at the top of the Spring Garden. From this vantage point, you can look down into the Azalea Garden and also have a view of the distant mountains.
Another not-to-be-missed favorite outdoor room is the Azalea Garden with all its varieties, colors, and sweet fragrances of azalea to enjoy.
“Although the Azalea Garden wasn’t part of Olmsted’s original plan, it makes perfect use of a wooded space,” noted Parker. “The blooms are spectacular in late spring, so be sure to take time to walk down the stone steps—another technique Olmsted used to divide outdoor rooms—and stroll down the path there, noticing the stream lined with wild flowers and unusual conifers.”
Bass Pond Boat House
Below the Azalea Garden, Hope Wright of A Gardener’s Place–one of the charming shops on the estate–loves walking down the path to the Bass Pond.
“I stop on the bridge going toward the Boat House and sit on the bench,” Hope said. “This is a favorite spot of mine in the spring and summer as I look back upon the stunning beauty I have just witnessed.”
Plan your getaway today!
Ready to explore our favorite outdoor rooms and discover which ones you like best?
Plan your summer Biltmore visit now to enjoy Biltmore Gardens Railway, a botanical model train display in Antler Hill Village, or consider becoming an Annual Passholder so you can return and discover something new in every season.