Take a Virtual Tour of Charleston's Historic Gardens

Stroll down Chareston, S.C.'s historic streets and take in the views of some of the most beautiful private gardens in the world—all without leaving your home.

After recently spending a few (blissful!) days in Charleston’s historic peninsula touring private homes and gardens, I can attest that gardening is a full-contact sport in the Holy City. From manicured formal gardens to rambling flower-lined paths, Charlestonians definitely know how to rock their green thumbs. 

In addition to full gardens, flower-filled windowboxes were everywhere: 

Formal gardens boast mounds of color and charming weather-worn statuary:

Charleston’s sub-tropical climate provides ideal conditions for South Carolina’s state tree, the Palmetto Palm, and camellias whose ruffly flowers are synonymous with the South:

Flowers also drape fences surrounding the city’s historic homes in color. Here a red trumpet vine overtakes an ancient cast-iron fence: 

Creeping fig turns this home’s facade into a vertical garden. Not advisable for use on a wood exterior, these hardy vines do little damage when allowed to grow on brick or stone:  

In Charleston, even small garden corners aren’t overlooked. Here, a homowner has trained a magnolia to espalier (or grow in a flat, compact shape) against a stuccoed wall:

Even in early spring, Charleston’s warm climate ensures a wide variety of blooms. In this informal garden, vibrant poppies spill over a pea-gravel path:

The Historic Charleston Foundation hosts private home and garden tours each spring. If you’re a history and design buff like me, they’re a can’t-miss.

Tour Charleston's Historic Homes

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Georgian-Style Mansion

This 19th-century southern mansion once belonged to a Charleston, S.C. shipping merchant. The Georgian-style home shows influences from the classical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, including these Greek-style columns that tower above the front portico.

Georgian-Style Mansion: Dual Stair Entry

The elegant front staircase in this Charleston, S.C. mansion was designed with tradition in mind. The heart-shaped dual stair offeres a regal welcome to all visitors.

Georgian-Style Mansion: Statue and Entryway

Just inside the entrance to this Charleston, S.C. mansion is this imposing statue that offers a visual keynote to the home's classical styling.

Georgian-Style Mansion: Entry Hall

From the floor to the ceiling, the welcoming entryway in this Charleston mansion is appointed in fine woodwork and elegantly refined touches.

Georgian-Style Mansion: Parlor

High ceilings on the first floor are a common characteristic of historic Charleston homes, as seen in this Georgian-style mansion that once belonged to a wealthy shipping merchant.

Georgian-Style Mansion: Parlor Furnishings

The parlor in this Charleston, S.C. mansion is furnished in a formal style and houses a collection of Eastern artwork including statues and pottery.

Georgian-Style Mansion: Twin Parlors

As exemplified in this elegant Georgian-Style home, twin parlors became popular in Charleston during the 19th century. Dual parlors such as these could be opened up to provide  space for large parties or closed off and used separately for more intimate gatherings.

Converted Carriage House

This charming Charleston, S.C. home was built as a carriage house for a neighboring building in the 1850s. The arched front door was originally designed for horse-drawn buggies to pass through.

Converted Carriage House: Dining Room

The traditional decor in this converted carriage house complements the home's timeless architectural details, including crown molding, wainscoting and stately fireplaces.

Converted Carriage House: Kitchen and Dining Area

In this beautifully renovated Charleston carriage house, the dining room and kitchen offer views of the small courtyard behind the home. The rear of the property also features a quaint guesthouse perfect for visitors.

Converted Carriage House: Master Bedroom

In this charming Charleston, S.C. carriage house, the cozy master bedroom's warm color palette offers a soft complement to the polished hardwood floors and hand-carved antique furniture.

Converted Carriage House: Master Bath

In this converted carriage house in Charleston, S.C., the master bathroom offers a stylistic change of pace from the rest of the home. The renovated and enlarged master bath is sleek and modern with above-counter sinks and a glass-enclosed shower.

Single-Style Home

This circa-1760 home, located on the prestigious waterfront area known as The Battery, was built in the single style, a compact architectural style that's unique to Charleston.

Single-Style Home: Front Porch

A common feature of Charleston's single-style homes is an orientation with the home's side facing the street to help ensure privacy. In this residence, the side door leads to a large porch overlooking a lush garden.

Single-Style Home: Living Room

In this historic Charleston, S.C. home, several of the building's original details are visible in the living room, including the exposed brick wall and the support beams in the ceiling.

Single-Style Home: Master Bedroom

In this historic Charleston, S.C. home, a muted color palette lends a calming feel to the master bedroom suite, which features a sitting area and a porch overlooking the yard.

Single-Style Home: Patio

In this historic Charleston, S.C. home, the poolside patio comes complete with a wet bar perfect for entertaining.

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