Biltmore Landscape Architect, Frederick Law Olmsted: Why We Celebrate The Vision and Legacy on His 200th Birthday

George Vanderbilt hired Frederick Law Olmsted, who was hired by George Vanderbilt, to create the design for Biltmore Estate’s gardens and grounds. Olmstead was considered, at that time, the country’s most esteemed landscape architect.

Frederick Law Olmsted became the Biltmore landscape architect in 1888. Moreover, there was significant collaboration between George Vanderbilt, Frederic Law Olmsted, and Richard Morris Hunt, who created Biltmore. Finally, Vanderbilt first opened his estate on Christmas Eve in 1895.

Their legacies live on for their lasting contributions to this country. Olmstead’s work was so significant, and yet his work is often more unnoticed than the large structures of the Biltmore House.

Father of Landscape Architecture

Frederick Law Olmsted today is the father of landscape architecture. Before embarking on the Biltmore project, Olmsted partnered with Calvert Vaux in April 1858. Together, they submitted the winning design to create the famous Central Park in New York.

The celebration of Olmsted’s 200th birthday is a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to his work as Biltmore landscape architect. The Biltmore Estate shares the following video.

Olmsted’s Vision Rewards Visitors Today

Olmsted had tremendous foresight. He was planning for decades into the future. Thus, he was not as concerned with the immediate effects. George Vanderbilt had faith in Olmsted’s vision and patience to wait several decades for these landscapes to mature into what Olmstead envisioned. We are still enjoying these landscapes, including the Biltmore gardens, today.

It’s easy to think that when you visit Biltmore, many of these landscapes are just Mother Nature at her finest, but it’s only when you start to read Olmsted’s correspondence and look at the landscape drawings that you realize how much thought and intention was put into every decision Olmsted made, down to the tiniest detail.

Olmsted Biltmore Estate Waterfall Bridge

Landscapes & Emotional Impact

What makes Olmsted landscapes is a sense of place. The mission of preservation at Biltmore, in the landscape, means design intent. First, Biltmore looks at these wonderful designs that were back from Olmsted’s firm in the 1890’s. Next, they look at letters in their archives. In addition, they view beautiful pictures of the original landscapes. Thus, they created an experience for George Vanderbilt’s guests. Olmsted understood how landscapes affect people on an emotional and restorative level.

As people go through a park or natural area, they benefit from it. As guests come in today, Biltmore wants them to enjoy the landscape. Biltmore hopes they leave with an appreciation of beauty, relaxation, and a well-cared for and preserved estate.

Visit Brookside Mountain Mist Inn B&B

Brookside Mountain Mist Inn Bed & Breakfast, in nearby Waynesville. We’re only around a 35-minute drive away from Asheville in the heart of Western North Carolina. We look forward to your stay with us. Guests enjoy our relaxing mountain views. You’ll love our gourmet breakfasts each morning.

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