Making the Bishop’s Garden’s Ancient Stones Safer

October 20, 2019
We will modify some paths and steps to make the gardens safer for all and to a limited degree more accessible

The Stone and brick walkways and steps of the Bishop’s Garden are irregular and uneven. Stones were retrieved from abandoned plantations in Maryland and Virginia nearly a century ago to place here. When they were first used on those plantations in the early years of this country only hand methods of dressing stone were available. These stones give the garden its charm and antiquity and also a certain degree of difficulty in walking and negotiating one’s way around. We are frequently asked, especially when scheduling tours, if the gardens are accessible for those with some mobility problems.

Wheelchair Access

There is currently access for a wheelchair on the driveway behind the Baptistery (café), opening onto the Bishop’s Lawn. At an entry to the garden proper where there is only one step (below) we will raise the level of the sidewalk to create a small ramp; using this a wheelchair could be pushed around for viewing nearly the entire garden.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is P1000741-1024x768.jpg
This step will be eliminated to create a small ramp

Safer Steps

The beautiful wide steps adjacent to Shadow House have sunk on one side. They will be removed and leveled, and the old, lovely stones will be reset.

Shadow House steps will be leveled and fitted with a wrought iron handrail

Hand Railings

When the stone work is completed, we will install wrought iron railings identical to those at the Amphitheater Crossing at three places in the garden: one at the Shadow House steps, one section by the new small ramp, and one at a nearby curving set of steps.

New handrails will match these at the Amphitheater Crossing below Shadow House

These modifications will be performed in the next month to provide greater security for all our guests, especially with the approach of wet and snowy weather. We do welcome all visitors and want to provide greater comfort and safety as you view these magnificent gardens.


All Hallows Guild was founded in 1916 to provide for the care and beautification of the grounds of Washington National Cathedral. The Guild works closely with the horticultural staff to preserve this historic landscape and raises funds for renovation and renewal of the gardens.


  • (202) 537-2937
  • 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20016


You’ll see what’s new in the gardens and learn about our upcoming events by subscribing to our monthly email newsletter.

Scroll to Top