Kathryn Aalto is a teacher, speaker, historian, designer, and New York Times best-selling author.

Based in Exeter, England, for the past twenty-five years, her creative practice has fused nature and culture. She is a master teacher of narrative nonfiction, a designer of classic and contemporary gardens, an author of books and essays about the natural world, and an experienced public speaker who speaks throughout North America and Britain.

Kathryn has written three books including Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World (2020), The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood (2015), and Nature and Human Intervention (2011).

Her essays have appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, Outside magazine, Sierra, Buzzfeed, Resurgence and the Ecologist, and more. Her books have been widely reviewed in print, radio, and digital platforms including National Public Radio, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, BBC Countryfile Magazine, and many more. Kathryn has appeared on TV and in film. She also reviews books and was a literary judge for the 2022 Nature Chronicles Prize.

Kathryn teaches the art of narrative nonfiction in a thriving on and offline international community. Tiered courses (Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 plus special topics) have helped educate emerging to experienced writers from around the world. They have won literary awards, been shortlisted for writing prizes, and signed book contracts. In addition to publication and prizes, people learn how writing can be an essential pillar of a mindful and intentional life.

Experienced in arts administration, she received the Community Revitalization Award as founder and president of the Monroe Arts Council in Washington State. She has also founded several writing retreats including the Retreat at Saunton Sands in Devon and the Rural Writing Institute with internationally-bestselling author James Rebanks.

Kathryn is represented by Ultra Literary in New York City and is currently working on her fourth book.



Kathryn’s designs are influenced by the relaxed California vibe of her home state combined with an immersion in Italian and English garden history and design. She designs contemporary wildlife-friendly gardens to classic historic estates. Her landscapes are noted for their historical narrative, comprehensive site analysis, detailed research, underlying simplicity, and painter’s eye for composition, colour, shadow and light.

While she enjoys designing private gardens, Kathryn has a special interest in public and community spaces. These include public gathering places, natural playgrounds for children, university gardens, and designed spaces for hospices and hospitals. All her gardens are designed to enhance the mind + body + spirit connection: to invite contemplation and ease, enhance overall well-being, and help people feel inter-connected with the natural world.

Designs begin with a client meeting and site analysis, and proceed through concept drawings, master plans, planting plans and construction drawings. To arrange a site visit, contact gardens@kathrynaalto.com.