Lakewold Gardens

LakewoldGardens_signature_07_CourtesyLakewoldGardens_2013.jpg
Lakewood, WA
United States
Lakewold Gardens

Landscape Information

Inglewood, Lakewold

Capitalizing on views of Mount Rainier to the east across Gravelly Lake, this ten-acre property includes more than 850 rhododendrons, several significant State Champion Trees, and a collection of Japanese maple. Developed from native prairie as the five-acre private estate of gardener Emma Alexander in 1908, the site was transferred to Alexander’s son in 1918 who added an adjacent five-acre lot. Dubbed Inglewood, gardens developed at this time included such embellishments as a brick walk, perimeter fence, and wrought-iron gate. The site was sold in 1924, renamed Lakewold, and sold again in 1938 to Corydon and Eulalie Wagner who elaborated on the existing gardens.

In 1958, the Wagners commissioned architects William and Geoffrey Platt to redesign the house and landscape architect Thomas Church to develop the gardens. Church spent the next seven years blending the surrounding woodland with formal gardens near the house. A circular drive terminating at two nineteenth century Danish lampposts creates a dramatically sequenced entrance. Large expanses of lawn, a reflecting pool, and a waterfall and rock garden are enveloped by flowering trees and old-growth Douglas fir. Stretching along the north-south axis from the main house to a gazebo, Church lined the brick walk with parterres. Between the Lion Fountain to the west and a sundial to the east, Church designed a quatrefoil pool. Unique among Church's designs, the pool was featured on the back cover of his last book, Your Private World: A Study of Intimate Gardens (1969). Mrs. Wagner donated the property to the non-profit Friends of Lakewold in 1987, which opened it to the public two years later. In 2014 Lakewold Gardens was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.