Suzanne Turner Associates

Bayou Bend Gardens

When the River Oaks Garden Club (ROGC) in Houston decided to update their master plan after fifteen years, they turned to Suzanne Turner Associates to evaluate the recommendations of the previous plan, update the “existing conditions” survey of the site, and develop a broad set of new goals for implementation at this large Houston garden dating from 1928 and owned and managed by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Using aerial photography, an extensive on-site inventory of plant materials, and exhaustive archival research, STA came up with a set of guidelines to assist the ROGC as they move forward in their management of this significant estate garden. An important component of the research was to catalog the plant orders placed by Ima Hogg, the property’s original owner and creator of its gardens over a period of almost fifty years. This research supported the development of a plant palette that would restore the period look of the gardens, and broaden the choices that the managers of the gardens have as they seek to return the garden to its appearance during its occupancy by Ima Hogg, one of Houston’s cultural leaders during the twentieth century. 

During the contract period, Hurricane Ike struck Houston, destroying several historic areas within the gardens – therefore necessitating the redesign of those critical areas. Using the research guidelines promulgated within the new master plan, STA developed new planting schemes which restored the period look of those garden rooms, adding to the overall integrity of the gardens and enhancing the visitor’s experience as they toured Bayou Bend.