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Mr Lanning Roper

Lanning Roper (1912-1983) was a distinguished American landscape architect whose innovative designs and profound understanding of natural landscapes left an indelible mark on the field. Born on June 24, 1912, in Westport, Connecticut, Roper's upbringing amidst the verdant landscapes of New England instilled in him a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature from an early age.

Roper's educational journey began at Yale University, where he studied architecture and landscape design. His time at Yale provided him with a solid foundation in both the technical and aesthetic aspects of his chosen field. After completing his studies, Roper embarked on a career that would span several decades and establish him as one of the preeminent landscape architects of his time.

Throughout his career, Roper's work was characterized by a harmonious blending of tradition and innovation. He drew inspiration from classical European garden design while infusing his creations with a distinctly modern sensibility. Roper's landscapes were renowned for their graceful lines, balanced compositions, and meticulous attention to detail.

One of Roper's most notable contributions to the field of landscape architecture was his emphasis on the importance of context. He believed that a truly successful landscape design must take into account not only the physical characteristics of the site but also its cultural, historical, and social significance. This holistic approach to design set Roper apart from his contemporaries and earned him widespread acclaim.

Throughout his career, Roper collaborated with some of the leading architects and designers of his time, including Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei, and Bunny Mellon. His projects ranged from intimate residential gardens to expansive public parks, each bearing the unmistakable stamp of his artistic vision.

Among Roper's most celebrated works is his redesign of the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. Working in collaboration with landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, Roper transformed the historic estate into a masterpiece of classical design, featuring terraced gardens, formal alleys, and lush plantings.

In addition to his work as a practicing landscape architect, Roper was also an accomplished writer and lecturer. He authored several books on garden design, including "Gardens of Colonial Williamsburg" and "The Gardens of Ellen Biddle Shipman," which remain influential texts in the field to this day.

His marriage to Primrose Harley (1908-1978) led to the development of one of the most famous gardens of its day at their home at Park House, Onslow Square, South Kensington.

Following a series of publications Roper built a reputation for having well-defined tastes and fine judgement and consequently found clients willing to employ him. He undertook almost two hundred garden projects in Britain and Europe throughout the 1960s and 1970s and later worked on projects such as the gardens at the University of East Anglia, and advised on National Trust properties including: Scotney Castle, Kent; Chartwell, Kent; Tatton Park, Cheshire; and Anglesey Abbey, Anglesey. He died from cancer on the 22nd March 1983 at St. Mary's Hospital, Praed Street, London.

Roper's legacy continues to inspire landscape architects and designers around the world. His innovative approach to design, reverence for nature, and commitment to excellence serve as enduring reminders of the power of landscape architecture to enrich the human experience.


  1. Lambert, Phyllis (2008). "Lanning Roper and His Gardens". W. W. Norton & Company.
  2. Roper, Lanning (1978). "The Gardens of Ellen Biddle Shipman". Sagapress.
  3. "Lanning Roper, 71, Landscape Architect, Dies". The New York Times. September 2, 1983.

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