Landscape for LivingLandscape for Living

Garret Eckbo

Reprint of the 1950 edition, with a new introduction by David C. Streatfield

ASLA Centennial Reprint Series

Published by University of Massachusetts Press in association with LALH

Cloth $39.95

ISBN: 978-1-55849-696-5
To order: University of Massachusetts Press,
tel. 800-537-5487, fax 410-516-6998

Garrett Eckbo (1910–1996) was one of the most highly respected and influential American modernist landscape architects. He worked assiduously to overthrow the Beaux-Arts system of landscape design and to develop an approach that would address the social and economic challenges of the modern world. Eckbo rejected the centrality of nature as a psychological and spiritual source of inspiration, criticizing the “palliative” introduction of nature into cities in parks designed by Olmsted and other nineteenth-century landscape architects and arguing instead for a scientific method that would provide a model for a new approach to landscape design entirely free of preconceptions.

Deliberately experimental, Eckbo’s designs were centered on the garden, which he believed was the prototype for all landscape design. His built work was influenced by modernist European architecture, modern art, and vernacular landscape traditions.

Published in 1950, Landscape for Living presents a synthesis of Eckbo’s thinking and professional work and sets forth his theoretical approach to achieving the “total landscape.” Illustrations throughout the book feature his own designs for gardens, parks, and institutional projects, group housing from his graduate years, work for the Farm Security Administration, and projects by the firm of Eckbo, Royston and Williams.

David C. Streatfield’s introduction chronicles Eckbo’s life to 1950, from his lonely childhood through his rebellious years at Harvard and well into his distinguished early career as a landscape designer, prolific author, and committed social activist, interpreting Eckbo’s densely written text as a reflection of this history.

“David Streatfield has contributed both new knowledge and insightful analysis to our appreciation of the 1950 modernist manifesto through which Garrett Eckbo sought to persuade American landscape architects, their clients, and the broader public that a new era—radically transformed by science, technology, and the promise of social change—demanded more than formulaic historic styles and soothing scenery in its designed landscapes. The revolutionary temper and optimism of this classic work seem more than ever timely and inspiring.”—Catherine Howett, University of Georgia, Emerita

DAVID C. STREATFIELD, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of landscape architecture at the University of Washington. He is also the author of California Gardens: Creating a New Eden (Abbeville Press, 1994) and numerous essays in books. He is currently working on a biography of landscape architect Lockwood de Forest, Jr.

Download the Introduction

“A new introduction by David Streatfield, who taught with Eckbo in the 1960s, positions Eckbo’s work in the context of his social activism, his interest in integrating landscape design with architecture, and his explorations of creative uses of technology and science. Streatfield’s essay encourages a nuanced reading of Eckbo’s text, enriching our understanding of the complexities of both the designer and the profession. Another significant contribution of the reprint edition is a comprehensive index that allows readers to identify the many projects featured throughout the text. This new edition of Landscape for Living is an outstanding addition not only to libraries but to practitioners searching for approaches to designing places for people in the 21st century.”
—Thaisa Way, University of Washington