Meridian Hill Park, Washington DC

Washington D.C.
Design and construction to rehabilitate the Meridian Hill Lower Plaza required thoughtful, harmonious interventions to address issues of planting, soils, paving, universal access, drainage improvements, and lighting.

This Italian Renaissance-inspired National Historic Landmark was created by design professionals George Burnap, Horace Peaslee, and Ferruccio Vitale, in collaboration with concrete innovator Thomas Early. The site required the renewal of degraded features to replace paving to match historic materials; provide soil for trees set in paving; renew plantings in character; design and detail a pruning frame for a linden allée; and insert new accessible walks. As Preservation Landscape Architects for the team, Heritage Landscapes advanced the intrinsic value of this significant landscape through decision-making during concept design, consultation, approvals, construction documents and oversight activities. Our collaborative role with the team and NPS Capital Region included actions to:

  • Document field conditions including vegetation, grades, and soils investigation
  • Fully engage in landscape design and details review and approvals with CFA, NCPC, DCSHPO
  • Design Lower Plaza to upgrade visitor experience and add universal access
  • Contribute landscape components to construction drawings and specifications
  • Add resilient, high wind-resistant pleaching frames to shape linden allée
  • Oversee construction process, bidding, site layout, and inspection of contractor work

The Lower Plaza restoration and rehabilitation has increased inclusive uses and provided a healthy, functional, and beautiful landscape to the community. The project received the DC Historic Preservation Design and Construction Award in 2023.


Lower Plaza concept design, approvals and construction administration


Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects, M+S Architects lead, Langan, Civil Engineers, WJE Structural Engineers


"Meridian Hill is a unique example of neoclassical park design in the United States and an important space for community . . . restoring this historic park will ensure its enjoyment for generations to come."
Superintendent Julia Washburn, NPS Capital Region