Eleanor Louise Roche, c. 1930
1892 - 1975

Eleanor Louise Roche

A native of East Orange, New Jersey, Roche studied at the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture in Groton, Massachusetts, after graduating from high school. She graduated from Lowthorpe in 1917, the same year as Isabella Pendleton and Louise Payson. Roche and Payson went to work in Ellen Shipman’s New York City office. Roche opened her own practice in the City in 1926, the same year she became a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). She specialized in residential work, especially gardens for small and moderate-sized homes. In the 1920s Roche also worked for the New York City Department of Parks. While she had some staff at her firm, she mostly worked on her own, focusing on smaller projects. Around 1933 Roche designed a courtyard garden for St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. By 1934 she was regularly working in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and moved there the following year. Roche designed numerous landscapes in Detroit and Grosse Pointe, including the Virginia Brush Ford Memorial Rose Garden (1966) at Christ Episcopal Church (Christ Church Grosse Pointe) and the trial garden at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial – both of which survive today. In the 1950s she rehabilitated Shipman’s Howard Smith garden in Grosse Pointe.

Roche taught, lectured, and organized tours, including a trip to Africa for the ASLA. She served as secretary and treasurer for the Detroit chapter of the ASLA and was a member of the Detroit Planning Committee. Roche frequently contributed to popular and professional journals, including Landscape Architecture, in which she published “El Labertino: A Spanish Garden in the Neo-Classic Style” in 1933. Roche died in Grosse Pointe at the age of 83.