Burden's gardens, including those at Windrush, his family home, showcase his signature design style, which emphasized the creation of garden rooms and used sculpture and plantings to draw the eye.Born in Louisiana, Ollie Brice Steele Burden, known as Steele, grew up in Baton Rouge while spending weekends on his family’s 600-acre farm, Windrush Plantation. As an adult, Burden moved onto the Windrush property permanently. There, inspired by travels in Europe, he began his first experiments with garden design, creating a small formal garden in the 1920s. Although he never earned a degree in landscape architecture, Burden took courses at Louisiana State University before working for the City of Baton Rouge. In the 1920s, he designed the plantings for City Park, and later became its Superintendent. In 1930, he became landscape architect for Louisiana State University, a position which he maintained until his retirement. His contributions to the campus landscape included the design of the University's Faculty Club gardens and maintenance and planting design across the campus. Burden also completed numerous private commissions in the Baton Rouge area, and was involved in the landscape design of Shadows on the Teche Plantation in New Iberia and Edward McIlhenny's Avery Island.
In 1970, Burden began relocating historic buildings from around the state to Windrush. He expanded and refined the gardens that he began decades earlier, working on the grounds until his death in 1995. The gardens showcase Burden’s signature design style, which emphasized the creation of garden rooms and used sculpture and plantings to draw the eye. An amateur artist, Burden’s talents expanded beyond the landscape to work with a range of media from painting to ceramics.