tour a celebrated modernist landscape architect’s final project 03/20

Tour a Celebrated Modernist Landscape Architect’s Final Project

See the art-inspired design, showcased at Palm Springs Modernism Week, that pulled Robert Royston out of retirement


Colin Flavin | Houzz Contributor


In 2007, Brent Harris called San Francisco landscape architecture firm Royston, Hanamoto, Alley & Abey and asked if Robert Royston could design a garden for his architecturally significant midcentury modern property in Palm Springs, California. Royston, who was 89 at the time, had been semiretired for 18 years from the firm he cofounded in 1958. But JC Miller, a principal in the firm, knew better than to dismiss the offer.


The Hefferlin and Becket gardens, as the landscape is now called, turned out to be the last project of Royston’s illustrious career. Miller completed it in 2011 after Royston died. In its first public showcase, the garden was open to tour at this year’s Palm Springs Modernism Week. A new book on Royston’s life and career, co-written by Miller and published this month, also was spotlighted at the Palm Springs event with a book signing and a conversation between Miller and garden owner Harris.


Tour a Celebrated Modernist Landscape Architect’s Final Project

The garden of Brent Harris, with the San Jacinto Mountains in the background. Photo by Millicent Harvey


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