The gardens include a bridal garden, a conservatory, a great lawn, a nature walk, an Oriental garden, a rose garden, a chapel, the Mermaid Pool, Mirror Lake, an observation tower, and a river pavilion where river cruises are provided on the Southern Belle and the "Kingfisher". The garden pathways are composed of flagstone that had been obtained from the old city sidewalks in Mobile, where they had been in place since arriving as ballast in sailing vessels collecting loads of cotton for the mills at Manchester, England. The gardens feature live oaks, camellias, azaleas, roses, and chrysanthemums year round. Plants featured in winter are tulips, snapdragons, pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale, daffodils, poppies, primroses, and many varieties of narcissus. Plants featured in spring include the more than 250,000 azaleas, hydrangeas, Easter lilies, impatiens, salvia, fuchsia, and Pelargonium geraniums. Plants featured in summer are the more than 2000 roses, allamandas, hibiscus, copper plants, begonias, ornamental peppers, bougainvillea, caladiums, coleus, vinca, and marigolds. Plants featured in fall are over 8,000 bedded, potted and cascading chrysanthemums, hibiscus, and copper plants.
The property on which the gardens would eventually be constructed were purchased in 1917 as a fishing camp by Walter Bellingrath, President of Mobile's Coca Cola Bottling Plant. Mrs. Bellingrath began developing the gardens with architect George Bigelow Rogers in 1927. The home was completed in 1935, encompasses 10,500 square feet (980 m2) and features hand-made brick salvaged in Mobile from the 1852 birthplace of Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont. Ironwork was obtained from the demolished Southern Hotel (1837), also in Mobile. The home borrows elements of many traditions and eras — a Georgian staircase reminiscent of an English country house, French doors, a Mediterranean courtyard.