Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Stresau graduated from the University of Illinois in 1935. He married Anne Ash in 1936 and together they established a landscape architecture practice in Miami, Florida, the following year. With the onset of World War II, Stresau served as chief site planner for air bases in Bermuda and Recife, Brazil. In 1946, the couple reestablished their firm in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Stresau’s practice evolved from purely residential design in the 1950s to include civic and commercial properties. Major projects include the Florida Exhibit at the New York World’s Fair and the Fontainebleau, Eden Roc, Diplomat, and Trinidad Hilton hotels as well as the landscape design for the Tampa International, Dade County, and Fort Lauderdale airports. In 1976, Stresau published Florida My Eden, on exotic and native plants in Florida landscaping.
Stresau’s prolific portfolio and extensive writing during his forty plus years of practice were instrumental in popularizing the burgeoning field of landscape architecture in Florida. Stresau mentored many young landscape architects including Richard Bell; Taft Bradshaw; Ed Stone, Jr.; Tom Wallis and his son Frederick E. Stresau. A founder of the American Society of Landscape Architect’s Florida Chapter, Stresau was elected an ASLA Fellow in 1964. The Society’s Frederic B. Stresau Design Award was created in his honor.