When the Blisses purchased Dumbarton Oaks, the South Lawn was filled with oaks and elms. Robert Bliss commented that
the house had no particular charm and the grounds [were] unkempt and in places overgrown but the beautiful trees gave promise of possibilities to a gardener. Because many of these old specimens died within the next twenty years, Farrand suggested planting a considerable number of small trees among the roots of the larger trees, but this planting was never implemented.
To create additional privacy and to frame the view of the house from the street, Farrand added a mixture of evergreen trees to the existing deciduous. Along the R Street border, she planted a screen of trees and shrubbery arranged so that
passersby will not feel crudely excluded and yet privacy will be secured for the owners.