Peter Ker Walker, 2013


Dan Kiley, my friend and former business partner was the pre-eminent American landscape architect of our age. Kiley amassed prestigious landscape commissions and awards throughout the U.S. and abroad. It was his destiny to be in the right place at the right time. He worked with the best architects, on the best jobs and with the best clients. Widely read, he was not an intellectual. Current vogue influenced him little; his intuition seemed to be his guiding mechanism.

His was a full and satisfying life. Dan chose not to separate his professional and home life; to him it was one and the same. At meetings and presentations there would be constant references to life on the Farm, to sayings and doings of his wife Anne and the antics of his eight children. His enthusiasm was infectious, a valuable asset in persuading uncertain clients.

Beginning his career in 1938, Kiley was involved in new types of responsibilities to be addressed by landscape architects. For him, Design was a process of discovery. He believed that design can raise people’s level of consciousness and heighten the awareness of the unity of Man and Nature. To his mind the garden combined the poetic and the mysterious with serenity and joy, revealing “Man’s place in the order of Nature.”

Our twenty three year relationship, 1963-1986, was a productive, close collaboration. The Kiley Walker Partnership shared in the same design goals and in the search for the appropriate and delightful solution in each circumstance, free from fashion of the moment and imbued with a quality of timelessness.

The legacy of Dan Kiley is that his work demonstrates how place informs life and how in turn life gives meaning and value to place. That he has done with art, grace and good humor to the lasting benefit of all.

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