O. C. Simonds

Reprint of 1920 edition, with a new introduction by Robert E. Grese

ASLA Centennial Reprint Series

Published by University of Massachusetts Press in association with LALH

Cloth $29.95

ISBN: 978-1-55849-258-5
To order: University of Massachusetts Press,
tel. 800-537-5487, fax 410-516-6998


Ossian Cole Simonds (1855–1931) was one of the country’s earliest and most important landscape architects, the progenitor of the “middle-western movement” of landscape design. He laid out college campuses, arboreta, estates, parks, and the much admired Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. He was also an influential teacher, author, and founder of university programs in landscape architecture, and the only midwesterner among the eleven charter members of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

First published in 1920,Landscape-Gardening presents Simonds’s carefully conceived and still timely ideas about an approach to landscape design in which nature is both partner and model. In eighteen well-illustrated chapters, he addresses the design of many different types of landscapes—from residences to parks to school grounds—and recommends an approach based on respect for natural systems and acceptance of stewardship responsibility. Many of Simonds’s ideas were remarkably prescient. He encouraged the use of native plants; he called for the protection of land for aesthetic as well as utilitarian reasons; he championed interconnected park and boulevard systems or “greenways”; he encouraged the planting of “nature gardens”; and he proposed thoughtful solutions to the increasingly ragged edges of early twentieth-century cities, warning of sprawl long before the word was invented.

Simonds wrote his book in response to what he saw as alarming changes in the American landscape. Through it, he hoped to teach both professional and general audiences how to read the natural landscape and to respect and protect its beauty while creating ever more harmonious places in which to live. This facsimile edition includes a new introduction by Robert E. Grese, which places Simonds’s gracefully written text in historical perspective, elucidating many of the broad themes of the profession’s early years.

“With the increasing interest in ecological restoration, sustainable design, and the use of native plants for landscape and gardens alike, it is particularly timely to have a new edition of this seminal volume by O. C. Simonds.”—Robert Cook, Arnold Arboretum

ROBERT E. GRESE is the editor of The Native Landscape Reader, for which he also wrote the introduction. He is a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Michigan, where he serves as the director of the Matthei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. He is the author of Jens Jensen: Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998). Grese is particularly interested in the restoration and management of urban wilds and the role such lands can play in connecting children and families with nature. He was featured as the LALH Preservation Hero in the 2010 issue of VIEW.

“Bob Grese’s thoughtful introduction does precisely what such a piece should do—and more. . . . Grese situates Simonds’s philosophies within appropriate streams of ideology and practice.”
—Cecilia Jaswa Rusnak, Journal of the New England Garden History Society