Bryant Fleming was born July 19, 1877 in Buffalo, New York. Following his mother’s death in 1879, Fleming lived with his grandparents on their farm in rural New York. His grandfather was an art appraiser and introduced the young Fleming to the fine arts. After graduating high school, he briefly studied at the Buffalo Botanic Garden. Fleming then enrolled at Cornell University, following the advice of world-renowned landscape architect and mentor, Frederick Law Olmstead. There, Fleming met Liberty Hyde Bailey, a professor and leading horticulturalist. After his graduation in 1901, the two men collaborated to create a dedicated Landscape Architecture program at Cornell. Fleming later acted as the department head from 1906 to 1915.
Complementing his work in academia, Fleming opened his own private practice following the dissolution of Townsend & Fleming, a joint venture with Frederic dePeyster Townsend, in 1915. He secured a crucial commission in 1908 with the Avery Coonley House in Riverside, Illinois. The house itself was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the project greatly boosted Fleming’s profile, securing additional projects in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City, Memphis, Louisville, and Canada. His practice became known for its prolific output and a harmony of design that masterfully balanced oppositional elements. Creating interplay between exterior and interior, antique and modern, and intentional and coincidental, Fleming engineered a sensory experience that both excites and relaxes. His attention to detail, innovative use of materials, and determination to design according to the lifestyle of his clients attracted the Cheeks to his work, and have become the most celebrated aspects of his work at Cheekwood. Fleming died on September 19, 1946 in Warsaw, New York.