I will arise and go now,
and go to Innisfree.
W.B. Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (1888)
Recognized as one of the “world’s ten best gardens,”* Innisfree is a powerful icon of 20th century landscape design. Over 50 years in the making, it is largely the work of landscape architect Lester Collins, FASLA (1914–1993), with important contributions by his clients, artist and teacher Walter Beck and gardener and heiress Marion Burt Beck. Innisfree merges the essence of Modernist ideas and traditional Chinese and Japanese garden design principles, a nuanced reading of its glacial landscape, and a deep understanding of the site ecology and how people experience place. The result is a distinctly American stroll garden, a sublime composition of rock, water, wood and sky achieved with remarkable economy and grace.