Creating harmony, simplicity and peace in the landscape......

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.

Gardening is an instrument of grace. " - May Sarton



 I  believe the green world enhances our wellbeing. We need to be outside. And why not in a garden designed for promoting harmony and peace?

I have been in the landscape design, planning and teaching professions for over 40 years. I was  an adjunct professor at Columbia University, teaching a graduate studio course, and currently teach at the NY Botanical Garden. In 2014, I received a Merit Award for Residential Design from the Association of Professional Landscape designers (APLD).

Garden designed by Jan Johnsen - armillary, walk and steps
I studied landscape architecture at University of Hawaii. I have worked  in landscape architecture and planning offices in Kenya, Japan, Hawaii, New Orleans, Vermont and New York. 
When I was in my twenties I worked under a French gardener who had worked at Versailles before emigrating to the U.S. I learned from him the techniques of professional horticulture as practiced in Versailles (all organic!). I incorporate them them in all my projects. 
I hope you enjoy this garden blog - it is meant to share the wonder and joy that the green world offers us.
My book  'Heaven is a Garden - Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection' (published by St. Lynn's Press, March 2014)  offers insightful garden design ideas, many based on ancient traditions.
My landscape design firm is Johnsen Landscapes & Pools.
If you are interested in booking a talk and book signing contact me at


  1. Hello! My wife and I just got done checking out your blog and had a quick question. I was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance. Thanks! - Cam

    1. You can contact me at


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