I imagine when most families take their kids to the zoo they expect to return home with a camera full cute, glass-smudging kid photos. I may have missed the boat on that during our last trip.

During a late summer trip to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo I was completely distracted and for good reason. You’d have to be as blind as the giant African bats in the desert dome not to notice the landscaping improvements.


Even the medians in and along the parking lot had a display of various trees and evergreens of various heights. (pictured above).

I spoke with a few people connected with the zoo and they confirmed that upgrades to the physical environment outside of the animal exhibits are part of the strategic plan. An improved sound system specific to each of the themed areas is also meant to take the experience up a notch and it works.

I think everyone needs to take some notes on your next visit. It is one thing to see individual plants on Google or Pinterest but it is a huge confidence boost to an amateur landscaper like me to see first hand which evergreens, shrubs, and grasses fit well with each other in a local environment.

Lauren and I are in the planning stages for our overall plan back home so it was great timing to see the various privacy screens and landscaped walk ways that were easily adaptable in a residential setting.

Our Pacific street property line is probably our most challenging spot to landscape. We would like a privacy and sound screen to block out the traffic and would prefer a variety of trees and shrubs rather than a formal, boring hedge row oF gigantic Colorado spruce.

Ninebark shrub

The dark red color of the Ninebark shrubs stand out and fit well in front of both evergreen and deciduous trees. I also like the fact that the Ninebark is thick enough so weeds don’t appear to grow around them.

Evergreens at the zoo

I think it is necessary for us to stick with evergreens in order to get four season privacy along Pacific street. This photo shows different shades and shapes can work well together and be low maintenance evergreens.

I think this is a weeping Norway. It isn’t going to provide much privacy but it just looks super cool.

Lamb Ears

The zoo has also created a few resting areas along the walking paths many of which are highlighted by organized displays from horticulture clubs.