Dumbarton Oaks was built as a grand residence on 53 acres. Some 16 acres remain as gardens, while the remainder was donated to the public as Dumbarton Oaks Park. It is perhaps the greatest and most famous work of the great American landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, who worked to create and adapt the garden over a 40-year period.
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The design adopts principles of the Italian renaissance: Close, highly-ordered linkages to the living spaces of the house, with individual gardens structured around the repetition of geometries and garden elements. It is this ordered repetition that enables the garden to be a gracious whole rather than a disconnected jumble of individual spaces.