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  • Format

    Hardcover

  • Pages

    176

  • TRIM SIZE

    8-1/2 x 11-1/2

  • ON SALE

    October 15, 2019

  • ISBN

    9781580935524

  • ILLUSTRATIONS/PHOTOGRAPHS

    300

About the Author

Michael Van Valkenburgh is the founder and president of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) and Charles Eliot Professor of Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Based in New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts, the firm is widely acknowledged as the preeminent American landscape architects and received the prestigious Firm Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2016.

Designing a Garden

Monk's Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Michael Van Valkenburgh

The intimate Monk’s Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston embodies the design principles that inform the work of noted landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh.

Designing a Garden presents Michael Van Valkenburgh’s concept and execution of the Monk’s Garden, an intimate, walled site immediately adjacent to Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Venetian palazzo on the Fenway. Devoted to horticulture and music as well as Old Master paintings and sculpture, Mrs. Gardner planted multiple gardens on the site herself. Van Valkenburgh’s design aims to interpret the museum’s meandering gallery layout, and the rich colors and textures of its idiosyncratic collection, in a contemporary landscape context.

A small-scale, dreamlike woodland, the garden is composed of approximately 60 trees including stewartia, paper bark maple, and gray birch, that establish a detail-rich palette of colors and textures suitable for intimate appreciation. Winding paths, paved in a striking combination of black brick and reflective mica schist, meander through the trees in the Olmstedian tradition that invites a gentle pace and contemplation.

Van Valkenburgh’s text explores the origins of his love of landscape and plants in his family farm in Upstate New York and moves through the designing the Monk’s Garden, focusing on the experiential nature of the process and the challenges and satisfactions of the small scale and the historic and cultural context.