Dexter Filming Locations: The Green Lawn


The location: The Green Lawn

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A broad green lawn with a white picket fence.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. It's not specified, but (if it's supposed to be real) most likely somewhere in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. Only once, and for less than ten seconds, near the very end of the final episode of Season 2: "The British Invasion".

    After Dexter has finished off Lila, and has finally escaped from the Doakes/Bay Harbor Butcher dilemma, he thinks to himself about how Harry's code has evolved in his own life, and about his own current relationships.

    As he does, we see a montage of brief scenes, including the police awards ceremony (with Debra), and this scene, in which Dexter, Rita and her two children, run in slow-motion across a wide green lawn, with a white picket fence in the background.

    ( It's hard to know whether the setting is meant to be real, or whether it is simply an idealized (and ironic) daydream symbolizing Dexter's new-found freedom. )

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A broad, green lawn.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot in the same public arboretum as the cabin in the Everglades, the South Coast Botanic Garden, at 26300 Crenshaw Boulevard, in Rolling Hills Estates, CA (on the way up the Palos Verdes peninsula).

    The wide, green lawn is called the "Wedding Lawn". The small houses in the background are actually fairy tale cottages (like large doll houses) in the park's Children's Garden, which is located next to the lawn. (The cottage seen on the left is called "The 3 Bears' House". You can see a small photo of it here.

    The lawn is located just inside the main entrance, just past the Children's Garden with its nursery rhyme houses.

    (You can find a .PDF map of the park here.

    The garden itself is a man-made creation. Until 1961, the area had been a landfill (and before that, an open pit mine). The county (and local volunteers) did a marvelous job of converting what could have otherwise been an eyesore into a lush, tropical Eden. (They also have their own website, at

    To find South Coast Botanic Garden, from Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance, just turn south up Crenshaw and go less than a mile up the hill. The entrance to the garden will be on your left (east) side. Keep an eye out for the entrance, it's easy to miss.

    As of 2008, admission to the garden was $7.00 ($2.50 for kids).

    Here is an aerial photo of the garden, with the lawn and Children's Garden locations marked. And here is a map link.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. This was a hard one. It's a very brief scene, and shows only one basic view of the lawn.

    At first, it appeared to be a residential street.  Not only is there that white picket fence, but there are also what appear to be homes in the background. My first guess was a small public park in an upscale residential neighborhood.

    It wasn't until I blew up the screenshot, and examined the white picket fence more closely (and the "homes" in the background), that I began to suspect its actual location.

    Look inside the two red circles below, and you'll see the two Fairy Tale cottages in the Children's Garden. They looked vaguely familiar to me, as did the fence.

    [ I shot the photos below in December 2008 ]

    ( Note that they either deliberately covered up that white latticework with fake shrubbery (or CGI),
    or else that particular tree/bush was much larger during the time they were filming.

    Above are closer looks at those two "buildings" in the background - one a story book house, and the other a wishing well )

    Fortunately, I had already discovered the secret of the cabin in the Everglades, so I had been up to the Botanical Garden recently to shoot photos of that swampy lake area.

    While there, I had walked past this lawn, and it must have stuck in my memory.

    On a hunch, I took a look at aerial photos of the Garden.

    And sure enough, based on the location of the Nursery Rhyme houses in the background, and the trees, I was able to pinpoint the location of the lawn.

    If you're curious to know what's "behind" the camera in this scene, here's a shot I took looking across the lawn in the opposite direction:

    If you walk in this general direction, you'll eventually wind up near the lake where they shot the Everglades cabin scene.

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