Seattle Gardens: The Dunn Gardens, Olmsted Designed

August 17, 2010

Woodland Path, Dunn Gardens, Seattle, Courtesy CarlisleFlowers

Woodland Path, Dunn Gardens, Seattle, Courtesy CarlisleFlowers

Arthur Dunn commissioned the Olmsted Brothers, a landscape architectural firm from Brookline, Massachusetts, to design the gardens of his summer retreat in the Seattle suburbs in 1915.  The Olmsted firm was famous for their designs of Central Park in New York, the Biltmore in North Carolina, and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The hallmarks of their landscape design rooted in the English romantic style called for a balance between the turf, the wood and the water.  Curvilinear shapes allow the garden visitor to experience an element of surprise.  What is around the corner?  The Olmsteds’ took advantage of the lovely view of the Puget Sound from the wide expanse of lawn and a backdrop of trees.

The property was eventually split into three and the public can enjoy the Dunn Gardens through the generosity of the E.B. Dunn Historic Garden Trust. The curators of the gardens maintain the “tennis court”, the woodland paths, the perennial garden of Ed Dunn, and have designed a wonderful garden in their own style to frame the house.

Dunn Garden Perennial Border, Photo CarlisleFlowers

Dunn Gardens' Curators' Garden, Photo CarlisleFlowers


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