GULF STREAM — Swan A. Brown Jr., who designed and maintained landscape from Pompano Beach to Gulf Stream, died June 10 in San Francisco.
He was 96.
Mr. Brown established his own landscape architecture business in 1956. Over several decades, he completed 90% of the landscaping projects in Gulf Stream.
After a life spent professionally designing estates, Mr. Brown had tips for amateurs: “Less is best. That’s the first rule. A beautiful shrub thoughtfully placed will do more for a yard than a jungle. Invest in a good sprinkler system. It’s cheaper in the long run.”
Longtime client and friend Marjorie McGraw wrote: “Over 25 years ago, we had the good fortune to engage a landscape architect, Swan Brown, to landscape our home in Gulf Stream. What started as a business relationship became a close friendship.
“Swan designed a magnificent garden which we enjoyed for many years. After we decided to downsize, we contacted Swan again to design our new residence’s garden. Swan had retired by then, but eagerly designed another beautiful garden for us.
“I think of him often while treasuring all our lovely plants and the fun times we had together. We miss our dear friend.”
Childhood family friend Laurie Potier-Brown wrote: “Swan was one of the first landscape architects in Florida, primarily working in Palm Beach County. He was one of the founders of the Palm Beach Look. Few who drive along A1A, admiring hidden, curving drives, surrounded by lush, exotic landscapes, realize that these were the creative designs from the mind of Swan Brown.
“It was the beauty of the land and his delight in making it so that inspired me to become a landscape architect myself. Swan’s work is still influencing generations of Florida landscape architects. Thank you Swan Brown.”
Mr. Brown was born Dec. 7, 1922, and raised in Ocala. He was studying at the University of Florida for two years when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Mr. Brown enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served in the South Pacific until the war ended. Mr. Brown then returned to the University of Florida to earn his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture.
Mr. Brown married Hilma Fields in 1948. Swan and Hilma had two daughters, Bonnie (Brown) Cicchitto and Barbara (Brown) Clark. His legacy is left to his daughters, four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
Mr. Brown was an avid walker and a dedicated University of Florida Gators supporter. He retired in 1994, moving to San Francisco. He truly enjoyed volunteering at the symphony, the Asian Art Museum, Project Open Hand and serving as a docent at the Strybing Arboretum for several years. He lived his final years at the Sequoias of San Francisco.
A celebration of his life was held at the Sequoias Independent Living Community on June 20.
Obituary submitted by the family