Shakespeare Garden Enhancements


2016 Honor Award


Evanston, IL


8,500 sq ft


Northwestern University, Garden Club of Evanston


Historic Landscapes

Landscape Architects

Project Details

In 1916, Jens Jensen designed the Shakespeare Garden on the Evanston campus of Northwestern University to commemorate the tri-centennial of William Shakespeare’s death. Using his signature Hawthorns to establish a framework hedge, Jensen designed a formal garden using plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s writings, resulting in a garden that was popular for parties, engagements, weddings, and the arts. One hundred years later, in 2016, the University hired Hitchcock Design Group and Rosborough Partners, Inc. to work with a team of designers and artisans to make enhancements to the garden, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The scope included adding irrigation, landscape lighting, and crushed stone paths; repairing and restoring cast stone benches and memorials; designing and replacing wooden benches with cast stone benches and metal tuteurs with cedar ones; re-laying flagstone walks; and replanting missing or declining plants.

Working within Jensen’s original parti drawing, the landscape architects led the team in maintaining a consistent vision. For instance, Hitchcock Design Group and Rosborough Partners, Inc. worked with Hugh Lighting Design and used “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as an allegorical framework for the new lighting plan, supposing that the mischievous Puck had sprinkled dollops of golden (and LED-efficient) light throughout the garden. The result was to extend the garden’s usefulness by several hours per day, improve visitor safety, and provide a new experience for visitors.

The landscape architects also worked with restoration specialist Erin McNamara so that her castings of existing ornamentation from the memorial were used in the design and fabrication of two new cast stone benches to lend a consistent aesthetic treatment to the garden. Similarly, the design of the new cedar tuteurs was inspired by Elizabethan-era lead windows, thus connecting the design of those elements with other features in the garden. Throughout the design and construction process, the landscape architects collaborated and took care to preserve and express Jensen’s original concept for the garden.

Project Team

Rosborough Partners, Inc.; Block Electric; Central Lawn Sprinklers; Masonry by Fernando; Architectural Cast Stone; Walter Zenker & Sons; Northwestern University; Hugh Lighting Design; Architectural Ornament; Selbert Perkins Design


Parties Involved Prior to Master Plan: Jens Jensen

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