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Thomas Church and his ‘Gardens for People’

Thomas Church - Donnell Residence, Sonoma, CA 1948
Thomas Church was one of the most influential American landscape architects of the twentieth century. His ideas on the 'modern' landscape revolutionized home landscaping and changed the look of the suburban backyard.  Born in Boston in 1902, he attended college in California and came under the spell of its climate and outdoor lifestyle.  Church received his landscape architecture degree from Berkeley in 1923 and his Masters in Landscape Architecture from Harvard in 1926.

Tommy Church - Plan for Donnell

Church urged people to see residential property as a single living space with the house and garden directly connected.  This was a dramatic notion for its day.  His greatest influence was through his books and numerous articles. His popular book on home landscapes, 'Gardens are for People,' was published in 1955.  Church advocated four basic landscape design principles:


•    Unity - Consider the house and garden as a whole
•    Function - All areas in a property should have a function
•    Simplicity - a simple layout is more beautiful and effective than a fussy one
•   Scale - Each part of the garden should relate to the other in a comfortable proportion of size

Above all, Thomas Church urged people to  work in collaboration with the land.  His advice, "Gentle be the hand it lays upon the land," is a wise and timeless admonition.

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This post first appeared on Serenity In The Garden, please read the originial post: here

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Thomas Church and his ‘Gardens for People’

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