Support Us Button Widget

Two big projects planned for Washington Park Arboretum

The Japanese Garden and the Woodland Meadow are getting upgrades.

A rendering that shows a pavilion in the Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum

There’s a new pavilion proposed for the Japanese Garden that can host year-round events.

Rendering via Hoshide Wanzer Architects

A little too chilly for frolicking? Well, we’re daydreaming anyway about prancing through the Washington Park Arboretum with two major projects starting to bloom.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, UW Botanic Gardens, and the Arboretum Foundation want public feedback for pending upgrades to gathering areas at the Japanese Garden and the Woodland Meadow. The projects are part of the Arboretum’s Master Plan that was formulated in 2001 to enhance Seattle’s popular park.

Proposals for each location seek to transform these spaces for many years to come and make it easier to host events. Let’s take a closer look at the seeds of change.

Tending to the garden

The Japanese Garden was developed by famed designers Kiyoshi Inoshita and Juki Iida decades ago. But when it opened to the public in 1960, some design elements — including a gathering space at the north end of the pond — were left out due to costs + logistical challenges. These improvements to the North Wall align with the original vision:

  • A new pavilion that can house all-weather cultural + education programs
  • Terraces and expanded garden views
  • Replacement of the walls and connecting stairs with hand-crafted granite masonry

Woodland Meadow’s glow up

Also known as the Crabapple Meadow, the former field nursery for the Arboretum has a wide open lawn that gets damp outside the summer months, making it impossible to chill out without getting your pants soggy. The plan to fix that includes:

  • Hardscaping (fences, benches, etc.) designed for year-round events like fundraisers, weddings + receptions, and concerts
  • Improved drainage
  • A new bandshell and stage

Head to Wisteria Hall at the Graham Visitors Center (2300 Arboretum Dr. E.) on Thursday, November 16, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to weigh in on the Japanese Garden project and Thursday, Dec. 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. for a discussion about the Woodland Meadow.