Lloyd Wright designed the Wayfarers Chapel to be a “tree chapel”, a natural sanctuary set in the midst of a forest. Because the trees and plantings were as important as the architecture, Lloyd Wright integrated the landscaping into the original construction plans. He designed the site, landscaping and gardens to reflect the beauty of the botanical plantings found on the floors of the northern redwood forests of California. The task of implementing the botanical vision began with the Chapel construction, continues today, and will be carried out in the future.
Native California plants and trees are called for throughout the grounds. Redwood trees are featured in the planting berms on either side of the Chapel. Planted more than a half century ago, they are just now reaching their maturity. Italian Stone pines are planted along the sidewalks surrounding the Chapel and their graceful branches arching overhead to form arbored walks. Other trees are planted around the grounds: Canary Island pines, olives, bays, peppers, apple, toyon, apricot, ficus, and junipers.
The Forest Floor Garden, located between the Chapel and the Reflection Pool, features many of the plants found in redwood forests: ferns, azaleas, irises, rhododendron, and redwood sorrel. The Rose Garden bordering the Colonnade is known for its roses that bloom year round, as well as some flowers mentioned in the Bible such as lilies, crown of thorns and aloe. Extensive lawns and outdoor grass amphitheater complete the 3.5 acre site, and complement the numerous gardens.
To maintain the simplicity and naturalness of the gardens and grounds a master landscape plan, initiated by architect Lloyd Wright, and enhanced by Eric Lloyd Wright, guides development. Many of the plantings gracing the Chapel site were given as memorials. The landscape plan may be viewed in the Visitors Center where information on memorial plantings may also be obtained