Gardens & Grounds

The Cathedral Close, the 59 acres surrounding the Cathedral, provide a beautiful sanctuary year-round. The grounds consist of cultivated gardens, including the Bishop’s Garden; the Olmsted Woods, an oak and beech forest; manicured lawns; a prayer path; and the landscaped grounds and athletic fields of the Cathedral schools.

All Hallows Guild was founded in 1916 to maintain and beautify the Cathedral’s gardens and grounds. The Guild, working closely with the Cathedral’s horticultural staff, preserves and beautifies this historic landscape. The Guild spearheads fundraising and educational events throughout the year. Explore more of the detailed history of the Cathedral’s gardens and grounds.

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Garden Scenes Gallery

Visiting

The grounds are open daily dawn to dusk. While visiting, we ask that you:

  • Adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear a mask or face covering.
  • Clean up after yourself, your family and your pets.
  • Dispose of garbage in trash cans. Place cigarette butts in appropriate containers.
  • Keep your pets leashed in accordance with D.C. law.
  • Follow parking guidelines or park in the garage.
  • Leave glass containers and alcohol at home.
  • Stay on sidewalks and paths.

Notable Features

Bishop’s Garden

The original plan of the Cathedral Close was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., in 1907-1927, at the time of the building of the Cathedral apse and the excavation for the nave foundations. He worked with the Cathedral architects to design the roads, site the buildings and design the Bishop’s Garden.
Olmsted’s design elements include a park-like setting for the Gothic cathedral, open spaces, native woodland and cultured gardens.His concept for the Bishop’s Garden on south road was primarily a private garden, accessible only from the Bishop’s house. Under later landscape designers, such as Florence Brown Bratenahl, it grew into the public space we know today.

Following Olmsted’s design Florence Brown Bratenahl helped realize a “Garden for the Ages.” Inspired by medieval walled gardens the terraced landscape features sculpture nestled amid plants of historical interest, native plants and plants of the Bible and Christian legends. More information on the design of the BG on the AHG website https://allhallowsguild.org/the-grounds/bishops-garden/

Cathedral Garth and All Souls Memorial Garden

Between the Cathedral and the Administration Building, the Cathedral Garth offers a place of respite, with the abstract fountain designed by George Tsutakawa. The All Souls Memorial Garden, located in the grassy area in the back of the garth, The All Souls Memorial Garden provides in-ground burial for cremated remains. Please be respectful when visiting the memorial garden.

Pilgrim Steps

The stone for the 51 sandstone steps came from Virginia’s Aquia Creek quarry. The source of the sandstone used in many of D.C.’s most famous landmarks, including the White House and the U.S. Capitol building.

Peace Cross

Located between St. Alban’s Church and St. Alban’s School, the 20’ tall Peace Cross is a Celtic cross formed from two pieces of limestone. It was erected to commemorate the end of the Spanish American War

Prodigal Son


This contemporary sculpture by Heinz Warneke illustrates the parable of the Prodigal Son. The sculpture, which had been previously exhibited in the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is sheltered by an old weeping cherry tree in an intimate setting.

The Shadow House

The eight-sided garden gazebo was designed by Cathedral architect Philip Frohman. There are eight views of the garden through arched windows. A small bronze statue of baby Pan, sculpted by Edith Parsons, was relocated to a pedestal at the entrance to the Shadow House in 2017 in memory of Rowan LeCompte, Cathedral stained glass artist.

Olmsted Woods & Amphitheater

The Olmsted Woods are the last vestige of an extensive oak and beech forest on Mount St. Alban. The woods include a stone footpath, a contemplative circle, native wildflowers and shrubs and is home to a host of migratory birds. All Hallows Guild is exploring options for removing or replacing the footbridge, which was closed following damage caused by a fallen tree.

The first amphitheater hosted outdoor services during the early days of Cathedral construction. Thanks to restoration, this beautiful outdoor space of curved stone walls and grass walkways is once again a setting for picnics, worship, contemplation and performance.

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Notable Features:

  • Bishop’s Garden
  • Cathedral Garth & All Souls Memorial Garden
  • Pilgrim Steps
  • Peace Cross
  • The Prodigal Son
  • The Shadow House
  • Olmsted Woods & Amphitheater