Bellefontaine Cemetery

Wildwood Valley Garden

Saint Louis, Missouri
Bellfontaine Illustrative Plan copy

The stream and path intertwine, leading to the Columbarium

existing trees provide the framework

07 - schematic lower stream flowing into sunrise pond

Lower stream flowing into sunrise pond | Laura Linn Illustration


Limestone memorial walls juxtaposed with walk and stream | Laura Linn Illustration

03 - limestone memorial walls juxtaposed with walk and stream

The concept realized

08 - schematic stream character

Stream character sketch | Laura Linn Illustration

Stop and Reflect

C:Projects2013WVG-Bellefontaine CemeteryCADL-SP_DTLS_3 Mode

Choreography on paper

02 - a placid stream suitable for contmplation

A placid stream for contemplation

The garden is a composition of diverse, colorful, and interesting native plantings that will invite return visits as the seasons change.


Bellefontaine Cemetery


Herb Schaal, FASLA

RAMMS Building Group

John J. Smith Masonry

Brookside Contracting




Project Facts

Merit Award | American Society of Landscape Architects St. Louis Chapter

2.5 acres


5 memorial walls

700 tons of native missouri boulders

Bellefontaine Cemetery, founded in 1849 in the rural cemetery style, is one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States. Wildwood Valley Garden is a new commemorative garden situated around the existing Columbarium, between Cypress and Cascade Lakes. The garden design builds on the vision of the 2012 Master Plan, providing a composition of diverse, colorful, and horticulturally interesting native plantings that will invite return visits as the garden changes with the seasons. Tree groves, perennial and shrub beds, prairie wildflower drifts, and emergent and wetland plantings highlight Missouri’s native landscape communities, lending to the garden’s strong sense of place.

Built features provide the framework for the garden vision. A naturalized stream meanders through a series of stone riffles and weirs, accommodating 20 feet of elevation change over its 600 foot course, and visually connecting the two lakes. Meanwhile, a winding path takes visitors past curved stone clad memorial site walls to overlooks and intimate seating nooks.

The stream is a sequence of sensory experiences, starting at the bubbling spring above Sunrise Pool and cascading over a series of falls below the pool. The stream then becomes a tranquil flow over gentle riffles as it bends around the Columbarium before tumbling over a final set of falls into Sunset Pool. The accessible path engages the stream along its course with numerous stone bridge crossings and overlooks, connecting Sunrise and Sunset Pools through the Columbarium. Stone clad site walls frame burial and garden areas and provide seating, while engraved stone panels accommodate memorial messages throughout.

The Details

  • Old World Craftsmanship

  • Pops of Color

  • Memorialized in Stone

  • Napping Prairie Dropseed

  • Soothing Sounds

  • Solemn Beauty

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