“Outstanding American Gardens”: The Anne Bass Garden, Texas

“Outstanding American Gardens:  A Celebration,” is the newest publication from The Garden Conservancy, celebrating their 25 years of garden stewardship and advocacy. Unite to Save the Frick was delighted to see not one, not two but three commissions included in the book with ties to the masterful landscape designer and architect Russell Page. In this three-part mini-series, we’re sharing a brief overview of these commissions — enjoy! 


The Anne Bass Garden in Fort Worth, Texas



Anne and Sid Bass commissioned acclaimed architect Paul Rudolph to design their Fort Worth, Texas, home in the early 1970s. For the couple, Rudolph conceived an intensely modernist structure of overlapping volumes and pronounced cantilevers. The commission has been described as the architect’s most ambitious private housing project.

Complementing Rudolph’s distinctive design is a spectacular landscape by Russell Page. For Mrs. Bass, Page designed a park-like gem with a reflecting pool at the end of a manicured lawn bordered by pleached oak trees. This sculpted arboreal colonnade aligns the landscape and architecture as both take on a forced geometry — particularly in the case of the garden, as the trees naturally seek to spread their branches far and wide. Instead they stand in soldier-like perfection. The lawn and reflecting pool, with the large sculpture The River by Aristide Maillol, provides a sharp contrast to the rose garden on the other side of the oak allée.

The courtyard opens up to reveal a garden view, designed by Robert Zion and Russell Page. Purposely built amongst the trees on the hillside of Fort Worth, Texas, the natural environment and green trees and grass also connected to the garden and formed a more expansive natural setting.

PHOTOS, top to bottom; all by Marion Brenner, from the book “Outstanding American Gardens”:
1. Anne Bass’ garden featured in the book “Outstanding American Gardens.”
2. Anne Bass’ garden in Westover Hills was last open to the public in 2005.
3. The sculpture
The River by Aristide Maillol appears to be afloat in the reflecting pool.
4. Anne Bass’ garden featured in the book “Outstanding American Gardens.”

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