Detroit 2020: World-renowned designer recruited for new garden on Belle Isle

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 17:19:19-05

Could a beautifully designed garden bring more visitors to Belle Isle?

In tonight's Detroit 2020, we uncover another sign of big growth and development in the Motor City.

A big name garden designer has a new visions for one of Detroit's most unique attractions.

In the dead of winter, it may be hard to picture a green Belle Isle, especially with all the snow.

If you dig down far enough, however, you may find some grass, and that's the start of a new garden planned by a world-renowned designer, Piet Oudolf.

"It should inspire people," he said. "There will be trees surrounding the whole park, there are a lot of areas where they can sit on the lawn."

Oudolf is excited to take an acre and a half of land and turn it a beautiful place for visitors.

"Not only for people, but insects, butterflies, bees. It has so much to offer to the environment. I think that's also part of my work."

Oudolf was the plant designer for the gardens in Millennium Park in Chicago and Battery Park in New York City.

He's been dubbed the rock star of garden design.

"I always act like I don't hear it."

The Garden Club of Michigan is working with Oudolf, hoping to have the garden ready in two years.

"How it comes from nothing to something," he said. "Thinking about the concept, we have a rough idea. It will be a perennial garden."

The organization is hoping to raise more than $2.75 million dollars to pay for the project.

The Dutch designer says he is excited to bring his garden ideas to Detroit.

"It doesn't feel like a big city. It's so spread everywhere. It feels so open," he added. "There is so much energy, there's so much going on on a small scale that I feel so much engaged."

For more information on the project, go to: