Born in Defiance, Ohio, Franz Aust had a prolific career as educator, author, speaker and landscape architect. He studied landscape architecture at University of Michigan, then began teaching at University of Illinois, where he became a member of Jens Jensen’s Prairie Club and Friends of Our Native Landscape. In 1915 he left Illinois to become an associate professor of landscape design at University of Wisconsin. During his tenure, Aust became friends with Frank Lloyd Wright. This connection led him to teach landscape design alongside Jensen at Wright’s “Hillside School of the Allied Arts” at Taliesin. Aust continued to teach at the University of Wisconsin until 1943, then retired from teaching to continue his private design practice.
Over the course of his career, Aust wrote numerous articles, spoke on a wide array of topics, and completed many design and planning projects. Notable projects include a council ring on the University campus, designed with Jensen; a rock garden, also on the University campus; and the Glenwood Children’s Park. Aust was involved with a number of organizations-- in 1920 he formed a Wisconsin chapter of the Friends of Our Native Landscape, which he helped grow into an influential landscape conservation group; was a member of the American Civic Association and the Association of City Planners; and helped found the American Rural Planning Association.