Hide away at these 4 Atlanta secret gardens

Relax at the Grand Hyatt, Georgia Tech, and more

Lake Claire Community Land Trust
At this 1.5-acre urban garden overlooking DeKalb Avenue, find drum circles, saunas, and a folksy amphitheater. The Land Trust dates to 1985, when neighbors bought land that piled up during MARTA’s construction. Since then, hundreds have contributed to a groovy sanctuary they hope will inspire more neighborhood parks. Respectful visitors (especially nonmotorists) are welcome during daylight. Bring grapes to feed “Big Lou,” the resident emu. 

The rock garden at Cator Woolford Gardens
The rock garden at Cator Woolford Gardens

Photograph by Jay Thomas Photography

Japanese Zen Garden
Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead
In the midst of the busy intersection at Peachtree and Piedmont is an oasis of calm: the Grand Hyatt Atlanta’s Japanese Zen Garden, where you can hide from the bustle for meditation, communing with nature, or a bit of navel-gazing. The traditional Japanese design includes a waterfall, pond, and garden with rocks and plants native to Georgia. Technically, you’re supposed to be a hotel guest to Zen out, but sipping sake at the bar should get you enough karma credit to wander through. 3300 Peachtree Road

Cator Woolford Gardens
Those in the know still call it “Jacqueland,” as Cator Woolford—founder of the company now known as Equifax—named his 39-acre Druid Hills estate in 1919. Today, the grounds are part of the nonprofit Frazer Center. Find historic formal gardens, a sweeping Italianate staircase, and woodland trails. Take refuge in a mossy rock garden beside the original mansion, now the Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House. The grotto-like fountain, stepping stones, and “stone couch” were recently restored. 1815 South Ponce de Leon Avenue

Rooftop Garden
G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, Georgia Tech
You don’t have to be a student to enjoy this rooftop respite, an 18,000-square-foot native plant garden atop a new state-of-the-art LEED Platinum learning center designed by architect Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Find quiet reading niches as well as 360 solar panels and 30 solar hot-water collectors. Oh, and a sweeping view of the Midtown skyline. 266 Fourth Street

This article originally appeared in our February 2015 issue.