Refreshing and expanding one of Houston’s most beautiful sylvan retreats


LocationHouston, Texas, United States
ClientGlenwood Cemetery, Inc.
Size86 acres

Known as Houston’s “silent garden,” Glenwood is a nineteenth-century garden cemetery. For generations, Houstonians have cherished the site for its rolling topography, tree canopy, and collection of stately family monuments. In 2005, SWA prepared a master plan for Glenwood Cemetery, and for over 15 years, we have worked with Glenwood to bring that plan to life. The plan included recommendations for land acquisition, conceptual design for undeveloped and newly acquired land, restoration of historic spaces, and establishment of a consistent sense of identity within both the cemetery and community. Dillon Kyle Architects’ design for the cemetery’s contemporary visitor center replaces a cottage-style Victorian office, preserving open views to the historic spaces beyond and providing space for memorial services and other events. A new maintenance facility, sited in the original master plan, was also developed.

SWA also designed and implemented the cemetery’s Stream Garden with brick veneer masonry, irrigation, planting, decorative metal work, bronze columbariums, and a pool/stream/waterfall feature. Additionally, following the 2011 drought, SWA assisted the cemetery in reducing its dependence on city water for irrigation, designing a 1.15-acre lake that draws of water from adjacent Buffalo Bayou and establishes a long-term amenity for the site. Road stabilization and new brick curbing, as well as weirs and outfalls, were part of this effort. SWA also assisted the client in adding nearby Oakdale Ridge to the cemetery’s lands, blending mature existing trees along an informal loop drive with new trees and shrubs. As the old and new canopies grow and merge, the two landscapes will be further stitched together by a brick bridge leading to the cemetery’s historic “secret garden.”

Related Projects