Piet Oudolf

  • Words Alice Vincent
  • Photography Marina Denisova

The Dutch designer bringing life—and death—to traditional gardens.

  • Words Alice Vincent
  • Photography Marina Denisova

Over the past four decades, one man has steadily changed the way our parks and gardens feel. Piet Oudolf is a Dutch designer who cut through the prim fussiness of traditional Western gardens with an unapologetic determination to make our green spaces seem more alive. There’s a good chance you’ve admired an Oudolf garden without realizing it. Perhaps you are one of the eight million people who visit Manhattan’s elevated park, the High Line, every year, or maybe you visited his riotous meadow inside the 2011 Serpentine Pavilion in London or the Oudolf Garten at the Vitra campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, which opened to the public last year.

His is a language of swaying, fluffy grasses and tactile outcrops of woodland foliage; a shift from gaudy, disposable bedding plants to somethi...

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