Since 1964, nearly 600 gardens have come to bear the distinctive imprint of Isabelle C. Greene, F.A.S.L.A. Her gardens are diverse, innovative and original yet have one common element: the ease with which the design incorporates the surroundings, allowing the buildings, garden and adjacent features to appear as if they had been one for many years.
Each garden is the product of Isabelle’s intimate understanding of geography, botany and climate. As a small child she loved nature, a love which generated a small museum in her backyard filled with minerals, insects and plants. Her life-long passion led her to study botany at UCLA where she received a bachelor’s degree in 1956. She completed post-graduate work in studio art at UCSB and in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and UCLA. Her professional life began as a botanical illustrator until a close friend suggested she design a landscape for his office. This spontaneous first project led to a civic award and thus a new career was born that continues today. Within a short period of time Isabelle was creating some of the most celebrated gardens in the West and many became known throughout the world. This widely recognized career resulted in the American Society of Landscape Architects honoring her in 1999 by inducting her into their class of fellows.
Isabelle has led the practice in the rediscovery of a garden aesthetic that boldly steps beyond the historical templates of European gardens, embracing the unique visual qualities of the spaces and the plants themselves: compositions that deftly reinterpret the landscape, inventing anew rather than repeating past practices. Like the Abstract Expressionists, Greene’s work moves us beyond recognized images to the essence of the garden experience.
Deeply committed to sustainable practices, her landscapes age well and flow with the land and climate naturally, conserving water, energy and materials. While she is noted for her distinctive treatments, her eye for detail and proportion acknowledges her legacy as granddaughter of Henry Mather Greene, of Greene & Greene Architects, pioneers of the early Craftsman movement in Southern California. Her passion for enduring results, like theirs, is apparent in her landscapes.
Ms. Greene’s commitment to construction detail is reflected in the highly crafted quality of the gardens’ elements. She displays uncompromising rigor in the design and execution of her projects, developing a personal standard of excellence that fellow practitioners would do well to emulate.
Always learning, and prodigiously creating striking and thoughtful landscapes at 81, Isabelle is an inspiration to everyone around her.
My life’s work stems from a love of land: particularly the vast and visible lands of the West, as well as a curiosity about what is inside any unknown.
Isabelle C. Greene, F.A.S.L.A
Landscape Architect & Artist