A Complete Guide to the BH&G Test Garden

The Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden® includes 22 distinct areas with hundreds of plantings that bloom all summer long. Located in the heart of downtown Des Moines, this gem is a quiet getaway with a winding walkway to guide you through colorful and unique plants, fountains, arbors, and more.

The Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden® is the best place to see the creativity and skill of our editors in real life. You can visit the Test Garden and take a stroll around when it's open to the public. Hours are Fridays from noon to 2 p.m., beginning May 20, 2022 through September 30, 2022.* Use this handy map, below, for a self-guided tour. (Groups of 10 or more may schedule guided tours during the open hours by appointment. Call 515-284-3994 to make a reservation.)

*The Test Garden is closed to visitors on July 1, 2022 for the Independence Day holiday.

illustration of bhg test garden plan numbered
Illustration by Gary Palmer

We make it easy to see all parts of the Test Garden. Simply match the numbers on the map to the numbers listed below and discover every part of the Test Garden's beautiful landscape.

  1. The courtyard
  2. The rose garden
  3. The southwest terrace garden
  4. The shade garden
  5. The fragrant path
  6. The conifer collection
  7. The clay garden
  8. The garden room
  9. The meadow
  10. The cutting garden
  11. The mixed perennial garden
  12. The shrub walk
  13. The mixed border
  14. The tool shed and storage area
  15. The mixed conifer and shrub garden
  16. The hillside garden
  17. The vegetable and herb garden
  18. The arbor and daylily garden
  19. The pond and cascade
  20. The southeast terrace garden
  21. The deck
  22. The rock garden
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