Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Barlow studied landscape design at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving a B.S. in 1925. He worked for three years for Paul Thiene before leaving to work for Katherine Bashford in 1930. Barlow worked with Bashford consistently for thirteen years, except for a two-year period in the early 1930s when he worked at the National Park Service. He became a partner in her firm in 1936. In 1943, he opened up his own practice which he operated until his death. His projects include Hollywood Park Racetrack, the residence of Mr. and Ms. Davidson, and Valencia Village. He created designs for over forty housing developments, including Baldwin Hills Village where he lived from 1941 to 1948. He served as Vice President of the American Society of Landscape Architects from 1951 to 1953.