The Design Process: Fort Tryon Park

Fort Tryon Park

Olmsted Archives, Job #00529


Have you ever wondered how parks are made? In the Olmsted Firm, the process of designing a landscape was often long and involved many people. Typically, the design process included the following steps:

  • Prospective clients sent written inquiries to the Olmsted Firm proposing a potential project.
  • Members of the firm conducted surveys and studies on a preliminary site visit.
  • The landscape architect's initial ideas and designs would be presented in preliminary plans, which were drafted with reference to topographical maps and studies of the site.
  • After a client had approved a preliminary plan, a draftsman would draw a general plan of the landscape.
  • Architectural and engineering drawings showed plans for structures, bridges, and other built features of the landscape design.
  • Planting plans showed the specific locations of individual plants and trees.
  • The firm often built three-dimensional models to illustrate their designs.
  • The client contracted the construction of the landscape through a bidding-process. Though the Olmsted Firm did not build their designs, a member of the firm was usually on-site throughout the construction of a landscape.
  • Representatives of the firm paid follow-up visits to completed projects to ensure the success of a project.
How did this process work in a real-life park design? Follow the design process of Fort Tryon Park in New York City from pencil to park.

Last updated: February 2, 2022

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