films: North America by Design

Fletcher Steele and Naumkeag

Between 1926 and 1955, landscape architect Fletcher Steele and his client Mabel Choate created many new gardens for Naumkeag, the Choate family summer estate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The new designs respected the layout of earlier gardens created c. 1885 by Nathan Barrett for the original Stanford White “cottage.”

A vibrant relationship developed between Steele and Choate, whose work began with Naumkeag’s Afternoon Garden and soon progressed to other features in the landscape: the South Lawn, Chinese Temple Garden, Blue Steps, and Rose Garden. Each of these designs reflected the tempo of its time and also connected visitors to the beauty of the Berkshire Mountains, visible from any part of the landscape. It is a magical site, truly a playground of the imagination.

This film was made possible by a generous gift from the Viburnum Trilobum Fund of the New York Community Trust, advised by Nancy R. Turner. All films in the series are created in association with Florentine Films/Hott Productions.

You can read more about Fletcher Steele’s design for Naumkeag in these LALH books: Fletcher Steele, Landscape Architect,  A Genius for Place, and Design in the Little Garden.