Photos and story courtesy of Department of Enterprise Services

After two years of renovation, the Sunken Garden at the state Capitol Campus in Olympia has reopened to the public with new landscaping, a reconfigured layout, and ADA access. 

New perennials extend seasonal interest and increase sustainability

The garden has stood on the Capitol Campus for over 90 years. It was originally designed by the Olmsted Brothers company, a landscape architectural firm, as a part of the master plan for the west Capitol Campus. For many decades, the garden contained roses. Now, the garden contains perennials, which are more resistant to deer grazing and more sustainable since they require less frequent planting and extend seasonal interest. The perennials also draw a greater diversity of pollinators to the garden.


Reconfigured layout reflects the original design

The new layout reflects the European style that Olmsted Brothers intended to implement in the garden. The style is formal with short hedges surrounding the garden. When you step down into the garden or enter through the new ADA walkway, you’ll be greeted by an array of colors from the diverse array of perennials, including bright dahlias planted by the Evergreen State Dahlia Association.


ADA Access Makes Garden Available to All

An accessible walking path was constructed around and through realigned landscape beds, and modifications were made to the west entrance. Prior to the renovation, stairs were the only way to enter the garden. Now, a ramp gives easy wheelchair access.


Click here for more information on visiting Sunken Garden


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