green design, eco design, sustainable design, Berlin, Potsdam, Sanssouci, historic gardens, kitchen garden, King Frederick William I,

Cascading down the hillside behind the Sanssouci Palace, the garden was designed in a convex arc to maximize sunlight in the German countryside. On each level of the gradually gradating hill is a series of glazed niches, with fresh figs growing on each one. Trellised vines from Portugal, Italy and France climb the brickwork around the fig plants. The hedges around each level of the garden also bear edible fruits.

Lush grass rolls down each hill and spreads towards the nearby ponds and carefully landscaped forests. The Great Fountain, which is in the center of the half-circle, is flanked by marble sculptures depicting mythological figures and benches that modern day visitors are welcome to relax upon and take in the sights.

A Baroque ornamental garden appears just as it did in 1745, which topiary trees and colorful flowers from around Europe. Sanssouci also features a kitchen garden that is separate from the floral gardens and sculptures. The kitchen garden grows fresh vegetables and herbs for the estate, and it was even used back in the 18th century to cultivate the same.

Just as they appeared in the time of King Frederick, the grounds still have a magical quality. Visitors can explore beneath the wind mill, sit near one of the many ponds, or cut through the high hedged paths to one of the many ornamental buildings or stone and metal gazebos once enjoyed by Germany’s royalty.

Admission to the grounds is not only free, but is easily accessible from Berlin on overground train.

+ Sanssouci Potsdam

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Photos ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat