Friday, April 16, 2010

Landscape Design Masters: Olmsted

*This is the first in a series showcasing some of the Landscape Design “Masters” and their style that I adore! And oh yeah, may have had a small impact on Landscape Design.

Frederick Law Olmsted, also known as the father of American Landscape Architecture, was an amazing visionary that wanted all people from all classes to have a place to “mingle in contemplation and enjoyment of the pastoral experience. At the time, this groundbreaking idea transformed many cities and universities, most notably Central Park in New York City. This was in sharp contrast to what was happening in the late 1800’s where the lower and middle class folks had virtually no land and few public spaces to mingle and enjoy.

Olmsted's designs were characterized by very natural, serene plantings with winding paths, no straight lines, wide pastoral areas with contrasting textures, lots of trees and a separation and screening from vehicle traffic. They are a pleasure to explore! His well-planned designs mimicked the natural landscape – they didn’t “feel” contrived, just natural.
For those of you who have lived or visited NYC; can you imagine the city without Central Park? It is the epicenter for relaxation, socialization and exercise. A true respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city. And Olmsted built it from scratch!! Each element was meticulously is almost unbelievable.
Photo courtesy of Reuters
Map courtesy of

Photos courtesy of Daily Venture

For you local folks, Olmsted lived in Boston for several years, so there are many gardens in the Boston area that were designed by this master including the Emerald Necklace / Fenway / Jamaica / Franklin Park / Muddy River / Arnold Arboretum Harvard University / Moraine Farm etc. as well as private residences….a couple rumored to be right here in Winchester! 

Get outside and enjoy!

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