The original Water Garden space was donated to the Botanic Garden by the Memphis Garden Club in 1965. The space has had only minor updates. As part of the Nourish Greenprint Capital Campaign, the Water Garden was tapped to be reimagined. The goal was to modernize the design and transform the space into a usable one.
The Water Garden is a fully enclosed courtyard. Prior to the modernization, the water garden, was only viewed from the surrounding building windows. The fountains were the main feature with small planting areas around the perimeter of the space. BPD teamed with Fleming Architects and MBG Staff worked with the Memphis Garden Club to finalize the design to be multi-purpose including seating, lush plantings, and a new focal piece to be created by local artist Yvonne Bobo.
The design created two distinct zones, an active plaza space and another with the re-finished fountain and large landscape areas. The planting space is separated from the gathering space by a curved seat wall with a floating wooden bench on top. This seating opportunity softens the transition from the plaza to the landscaping. The entire space was upgraded in material and paint to provide a modern finish. An overhead structure with fans provides comfort over the seating area for those hot Memphis summer days. All the ground plain was updated to continue the aesthetic establish in the recently renovated Botanic Garden main entry and offices.
Working alongside the horticultural staff at the garden, we produced a landscape that would be impactful in such a small space. Keeping the large existing Japanese Maple helped anchor the design and added maturity and an established feel.
The renovations were completed by Grinder Taber Grinder. The project was made possible by the Memphis Garden Club, Memphis Botanic Garden members, members of the Canale Foundation, and a gift from the estate of Tina McWhorter. From wedding events to yoga in the courtyard, this reimagined Water Garden provides the garden with a new modern space to attract guests.