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Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden

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Address: 1716 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309, Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone Number: 515-284-3994
Website
Description:

Right in the heart of the city is a half-block long blaze of beauty -...

Right in the heart of the city is a half-block long blaze of beauty - Better Homes and Gardens' testing ground for various landscape designs that the company documents and photographs. The area is one large area made of many mini-backyards, complete with annuals, perennials, bulbs and typical backyard structures like fences and gates.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 33 reviews
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  • 19
    Excellent
  • 9
    Very good
  • 3
    Average
  • 1
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  • 1
    Terrible
Beautiful and free!

The gardens are well tended. There were many gardeners nearby to answer any and all of your questions. The flowers are typically grown in Iowa so it's good to see what will grow... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed June 18, 2016
MSAAB
,
Des Moines, Iowa
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33 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 33: English reviews
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
36 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2016

The gardens are well tended. There were many gardeners nearby to answer any and all of your questions. The flowers are typically grown in Iowa so it's good to see what will grow well in the area. It's only open for 2 hours daily so check the website before going. There are areas for picnics under the shade trees next... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank MSAAB
Lincoln, Nebraska
Level Contributor
134 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2016

Visited on the first Friday they were open to the season to the public on May 6. Test garden is a beautiful place to walk through. Enjoyed the courtyard in the middle where you could just sit and relax and take it all in after strolling through the garden. All the displays gives a gardener wonderful ideas on how to... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank Bonnie F
Bettendorf, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2016

I was excited about the opportunity to see the test garden because I do read Better Homes and Gardens. However, it was a disappointment. There was no signage to help identify plants. The area is small and not as well maintained as I would have expected. Sitting in downtown Des Moines surrounded by concrete walls, I had to wonder how... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Ladonna C
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2016 via mobile

I made my husband take a special trip with me to see these gardens, because I really wanted to visit here. Not knowing that these gardens are only open to the public on Fridays, we went to the gates that were open, so we naturally walked in. We were quickly run off by a grumpy gardener that said we can't... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Heather M
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2016

Tricky to time your visit when they are open, but so worth it if you can manage to do it. Better Homes and Gardens uses this garden for many pictures in their publications, and also tests plant varieties here. Beautiful fountain.

Helpful?
Thank 809libbyy
Urbandale, Iowa
Level Contributor
62 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2015

I expected much more due to reviews and Trip Advisor ranking. This is a small set of gardens tucked away surrounded by offices and sidewalks. I found the gardens less than appealing. To be honest, some of my beds are nicer. The flower selection wasn't unique either.

Helpful?
2 Thank Diana R
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2015

There is nothing to unlike about a garden used for testing by internationally known publication. I RAVE about this hidden gem!

Helpful?
1 Thank mimabeelia
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
96 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2015

The BHG Test Gardens at Meredith have a fountain at the center that totally draws you in. Walk around to explore the garden on your own--it really has a lot to show off in the tiny space! Metered street parking is available nearby. LIMITED VIEWING: It's generally open to the public only for a few hours on Fridays during the... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank Kristina M
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
17 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015

I was luckily visiting Des Moines on a Friday and was able to visit in the short viewing hours of 12-2pm. As a long-time reader of the magazine I was excited to see the garden in person. It was fascinating to see the wide variety and design elements throughout he garden. It's hard to find, look for the grey walls... More 

Helpful?
3 Thank qtntraveler
Texas
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2015

Enjoyed our visit in the gardens. They have everything labeled but if you walk on the grass to read the labels a rude person may tell you to stay off of the grass. They should have signs to warn you.

Helpful?
2 Thank Bootsy2

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