Hardscaping Ideas From The Zoo

Have you ever paid attention to the landscaping ideas in commercial areas like zoos, parks, and tourist areas? I have found some of my very best ideas come from places like this. I was always taught that if you want to learn something then learn from someone who knows more than you do. The landscaping at zoos, parks, and the like are all landscaped by highly qualified professionals. They know more than I do so why not learn from them & their ideas? Granted, I can not afford to make some of these ideas on the same scale that I find in the parks but, if I downsize it a bit to my garden & budget size there are some really great ideas out there. The following pictures came from The San Antonio Zoo. I was so amazed that I found myself taking more pictures of the landscaping than of the animals. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Notice the huge planter in the water feature. Yes, it is huge but imagine it smaller. Maybe you could use one of those cement culverts to do something similar in your home pond.

I liked how this waterfall was set up to drop water from rock shelf to rock shelf. Huge? Yes, but see it much smaller backed up against a building, or fence, or maybe it could block an ugly view.

I loved how they made use of natural materials for this fence. A natural picket fence. I do have tons of tree branches that get trimmed every year. Hmmmmmmmmm? It gets me to thinking . . . .

I have a natural spring fed pond on my property that has some really shallow spots & a bridge wouldn't look quite right down there but now this could maybe be done & it wouldn't take away from the natural surroundings yet give us access to both sides.

Look at this. It is just a 4 x 4 post with holes drilled in them & then a large rope strung through them for a really cool looking fence that doesn't block the view of the plantings. And a Girl Scout trainer taught me how to make ropes once. I could do this.

Check out this water feature. I am not sure if this is real rocks or cement material made to look like rocks. Either way it really made the edges of the pond look kind of neat. Very different from just a ring of rocks around your pond. I like the way it hangs out over the water.

See this water feature up close. There is a combination of cement material and rocks put together to make this waterfall feature. It is just a matter of coloring that cement to match the rocks.

Here is another bridge idea that I thought was unique and fun.

Now if I ever have the money this would be fun to build over a water feature. See how the water flows between the cement rocks.

Here they used a row of rocks across each step of the waterfall.

This was one of the pathways cut onto a hill.

Hope You enjoyed my little visit to the San Antonio Zoo. Next time you visit a park, zoo, water park, or any commercial area for that matter. Pay closer attention to the landscaping. You will be surprised at what you can adapt to your home garden.

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Susan said...

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that takes photo of landscapes while visiting zoos, amusements parks, vacations, etc. It's true, you can get some great ideas from these places. And, you definitely found some great ones. Thanks for sharing them.

Jan (ThanksFor2Day) said...

You have inspired me to look closely and see 'potential' from areas I'd never consider for my own garden. You are so right, I saw the same potential in everything you featured. Oh boy, a new subject for my emerging photograpy skills...I should never be bored with all of these things to think about!!

Gardeness said...

I'm laughing because I do the same thing. Your zoo has some really unique features, too. I love the path crossing the pond. Personally, I wish we had room to create one of those hammocks high up in the trees like they have for orangutans at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

Loved your tour. I do the same thing. We were at the San Diego zoo last summer and I spent half of the time looking at the landscaping. The zoo near us gives me great ideas too. I like the idea of some sort of planter across a pond waterfall. That has got me thinking now, I might see if I can make something like that work on ours.

Nancy said...

Thanks for all the pictures. I could use some hardscaping. We are planning on digging up our lawn and putting in raised beds, etc. Big job!

MrBrownThumb said...


What a nice tour-thanks for sharing it. I like the rock that looks like a cylindrical island. If I ever have a pool or pond I'm going to have to set up something like that with maybe a secret passage underneath you can use to climb to the top.

Jamie and Randy said...

Debbie, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and also wanted to say thanks for stopping by our gardenblog. Randy tries to keep our blog updated on a regular basis, so stop by whenever you have the chance. Best of luck in your quest for minimizing grandscale landscape designs to fit your own unique needs!


Donna at Suburban Sanctum said...

Good eye for detail! And some great ideas. Now if I only had $$$$$...

Less is More said...

hi good day! nice post great place for an event .. thanks for the idea. i think that it is also perfect p to have a special events on a this . very impressive! . attraction of the plants and garden accessories such as garden spinners and other garden accessories . very nature theme . anyways thank you i hope to read more post from you . my friends gonna love this !