The Landscape Architect’s Guide to

Washington, D.C.

Dupont Circle / Embassy Row / Cathedral Heights

National Cathedral

The National Cathedral and Close sits atop Mount Saint Alban overlooking the Potomac River Basin and the monumental core of Washington, DC. The 57-acre Close surrounding the Cathedral is a delightful ensemble of landscapes and gardens that offer a respite from the city and reflect the spiritual purpose of the place. Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr. provided the Master Plan that guided the development of the Cathedral grounds over the last 80 years. I’ve always loved the poetic quality of Olmsted’s description of the role of the landscape in the arrival to the Cathedral, how...“the great sweeping branches of the trees seem to brush off, as it were, the dust of the city, so that one at last reaches the Cathedral cleansed in mind and in spirit.” 

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