As the focal point of the garden, the large redesigned fountain pays homage to Asa Gray and the legacy of Mount Auburn’s funerary art, while also speaking to the spirit of today. In profile and in detail, the fountain is rooted in more contemporary forms; its centerpiece uses an abstract botanical motif to evoke the legacy of Asa Gray’s scholarly achievement.
To achieve the sense of radiating expansion and movement, the garden’s central elements will be reoriented so that they align with the newly completed Caroline’s Path, leading from Story Chapel. The garden’s low walls will be similar in material and design to Caroline’s Path’s walls. The garden's existing planting beds will be redesigned to offer more open areas of lawn that invite visitors to explore. These changes, as well as the large fountain at the garden’s center, will be visible from Story Chapel.
As a counterpoint to these open visual sweeps through the garden, the garden's central area will feature plantings that offer four-season interest and invoke the Asa Gray story. These plantings will be extended up the sloped hillsides to Laburnum Path and Central Ave, which bound the garden’s environs on the west and east respectively. Selected specimen trees, shrubs, and perennials in the garden’s mixed borders will provide dramatic visual punctuation throughout the four seasons, as the borders cycle through flowers and foliage in spring, summer, and fall to winter displays of colored and textured barks and sculptural tree habits. This succession of seasonal effects will be achieved with structural plants, underplanting and interplanting of bulbs, use of self-sowers, pockets of annual bedding, masking with climbers, and good maintenance.