Greely studied fine art at a number of different organizations, including Maryland Agricultural College, the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied interior design, and metal work while in Washington. In Florence, Italy, she studied silver repoussé and metal enameling before deciding to study landscape architecture. She returned to the United States to attend Smith College, studying under Henry Atherton Frost and graduating around 1920 and trained at the Cambridge School of Domestic and Landscape Architecture for Women, graduating in 1919. Among her fellow students was Gertrude Sawyer, with whom she would later work on an estate that is now the Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum. After graduation, she worked for Fletcher Steele as a drafter in Boston. She also worked on the staff of House Beautiful for one year. In 1923, she moved back to Washington where she worked in landscape architecture for Horace Peaslee.
In 1925, she began her own architectural firm and became the first female licensed architect in Washington. The firm employed a secretary, an assistant, and two drafters and was located in an office in downtown Washington. She designed more than 500 landscapes in her forty-year career, specializing in residential design but emphasized the integral relationship between buildings and their surroundings. She felt that planting should echo the character of the architecture and that the landscape should emphasize the dominant points of the house and accentuate the beauty of an architectural element. Greely worked mostly in Virginia, Washington, and Maryland. In the 1940s and 1950s, she worked on military landscapes, schools, real estate developments, government housing, outdoor theaters, playgrounds, gardens, roads, country estates, expanding her work throughout the United States and Mexico. In 1936, she became a fellow and the only woman on the advisory board of the American Society of Landscape Architects’ advisory committee for the Colonial Williamsburg restoration project.
- Aberdeen Proving Grounds landscape, 1934-35
- Brazilian Embassy landscape, 1929-31
- Army & Navy Country Club Grounds, Arlington, 1941
- Friends Meeting House, 2111 Florida Avenue, NW, 1930
- Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Albuquerque, NM, 1932
- Mr. and Mrs. William H. Taylor House, 28th and Q Sts, Washington, DC, 1936-37
- Mr. and Mrs. Morris Cafritz House, Washington, D.C., 1937-38
"Planting Around the City House", House Beautiful, 1922
- "Rose Ishbel Greely | The Cultural Landscape Foundation". tclf.org. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- Special Collections Department (2001). "A Guide to the Rose Greely Architectural Drawings and Papers 1909-1961". University of Virginia. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- "http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/historic/places_from_the_past/documents/p322_335.pdf" (PDF). www.montgomeryplanning.org. Retrieved 2015-05-22. External link in
- Allaback, Sarah (2008). The First American Women Architects. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252033216.
- House Beautiful. Hearst Corporation. 1922.
- Jr, G. Martin Moeller (2012-05-02). AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington,. JHU Press. ISBN 9781421402703.
- "Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm | The Cultural Landscape Foundation". tclf.org. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
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