Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thomas Church (1902-1978)

As a residential landscape architect, I have always been intrigued by Thomas Church.  This photo of his design, known as the Dewey Donnell garden, is one that we studied in school and has always stuck in my head.  His designs seem to define the term "simply classic."

Thomas Church is known as the man who opened the door to the modern movement in Landscape Architecture.  He grew up in California, and after years of education, travel, and teaching, he opened his own firm in San Francisco.

Church's style soon began to redefine the California landscape by introducing the modern movement.  He understood that gardens should be an extension of the home and created outdoor living spaces and garden rooms.  He successfully merged the idea of "form follows function" with decorative style pleasing to those who use the space.  

In his career he designed more than 2000 gardens.


  1. That Dewey Donnell garden is truly stunning! I love all of the curved just sort of seems to undulate out to the horizon.

  2. you should credit the photograph of Tommy: it was taken by Carolyn Caddes. Also read work by Pam-Anela Messenger who wrote her masters thesis on Church, worked with him and is currently writing a comprehensive book on all of his work.