The Private Oasis in Landscape Design

People / Places / Products / June 1, 2012

Edmund Hollander and Maryanne Connelly have formed a winning combination over the years.

The prominent New York landscape architects met in the early 1980s in graduate school at Penn, establishing their firm, now located on Park Avenue South, in 1991.

“I was a history major and she was an artist,” Hollander says.  “She could draw like the wind and I knew every plant in the universe.”

They’re equally comfortable designing for modernists Steven Holl or Annabel Selldorf as they are for classicists like Robert A. M. Stern or Jaquelin Robertson. 

“Our landscapes are responsive to the style of the architects,” he says

Fans of their work are in luck. They’ve just published “The Private Oasis,” a processional book that leads the reader through the sequences of landscape design, rather than through individual projects.  It’s broken up into the way the pair looks at landscape design.

It opens with an entry sequence that examines how a landscape is approached and what can be seen.  That’s followed by a section on seating and gathering, then by outdoor dining.  Next up is movement and transition, with a focus on allees, walkways, gateways and connective structures.  Finally, the book examines swimming pools, water features and tennis courts.

Seeds for this volume were sown with their first book, “Gardens for the New Country Place.”  This one, though, is intended to be a resource for as many homeowners, architects and students of landscape design as possible.

“That’s why it’s broken up into these areas, rather than by properties,” he says.  “We wanted to show all the ways that people live and use our designs – to show a diverse range of ideas from different properties and different clients.”

It was something of a struggle to select which projects would make the cut, and which would be left out.  But that was a battle with an easy resolution in the end.

“This one is a preview to Volume 2 – ‘The Living Land,’” he says.

Hollander will be signing copies of “The Private Oasis” on Wednesday, July 6 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Archiva Books, 993 Lexington Avenue, at 72nd Street.  

For more information, go to

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Mike Welton

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