Where is it Located

About the Bowling Green

The Bowling Green was an integral part of George Washington’s new landscape plan which he designed and implemented between 1784 and 1787. It was planned as a pleasure ground for guests’ entertainment.

While we may be accustomed to such wide expanses of evenly trimmed grass today, in the 18th-century, the broad swath of green would have conveyed a sense of the Washingtons’ wealth, as lawns were expensive to plant and required extensive labor to maintain. How do you think grass was trimmed in the 18th-century? Enslaved workers leveled the ground with a heavy roller and then cut the grass with a scythe. Maintaining an even surface and uniform height required skill, and only the most experienced enslaved gardeners performed this task.

The Bowling Green was edged with serpentine paths to guide visitors as they meandered through the trees and flowering shrubs on both sides of the open space. The installation of this Bowling Green required the demolition of existing brick-walled gardens, which blocked the view from the Mansion to the west. The rectangular plots were replaced with bullet-shaped gardens on either side of the Bowling Green.

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