He studied Architecture at South Kensington School of Art, London from 1885 to 1887.
After college he joined the Ernest George and Harold Ainsworth Peto architectural practice. It was here that he first met Herbert Baker.
He set up his own practice in 1888. His first commission was a private house at Crooksbury, Farnham, Surrey. During this work, he met Gertrude Jekyll. In 1896 he began work on a house for Miss Jekyll at Munstead Wood, Godalming, Surrey. The two of them also worked together as garden designers.
Initially, his designs all followed the Arts and Crafts style, but in the early 1900s his work became more Classical in style. His work was of a varied nature from private houses to two churches for the new Hampstead Garden Suburb, London to Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton, Devon and on to his contributions to India's new imperial capital New Delhi (where he worked with Herbert Baker). Here he added elements of local architectural styles to his classicism.
After the Great War, he was involved with the creation of monuments to commemorate the fallen. The best known of these monuments are the Cenotaph, London and the memorial to the Missing of the Somme, Thiepval. He also designed the War Memorial Gardens in Dublin, which were restored to their full splendour in the 1990s.
Whilst work continued in New Delhi, Lutyens continued to receive other commissions including several commercial buildings in London and the British Embassy in Washington, DC.
In 1924 he completed the supervision of the construction of what is perhaps his most popular design: Queen Mary's dolls' house. This four story Palladian villa was built in 1/12th scale (same as Barbie and GI Joe) and is still a permanent exhibit in the public area of Windsor Castle. It was not conceived or built as a plaything for children. Its goal was to serve as an exhibit of the finest British craftmanship of the period.
He was commissioned in 1929 to design a new Roman Catholic cathedral in Liverpool. Work on this magnificent building started in 1933, but was stopped during the Second World War (after the war the project ended due to a shortage of funding, with only the crypt completed). (The architect of the present Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, which was built over the crypt and consecrated in 1967, was Sir Frederick Gibberd.)