Gustave Ring, 73, the founder of the Ring Construction Co. and the builder of such widely noted projects as the Colonial Village garden apartments in Arlington, died of arteriosclerosis May 3 at his home in Washington.

In addition to Colonial Village, which was built in 1935 and is said to have been the country's first garden-apartment complex, Mr. Ring's other projects included the Westchester Apartments in Washington, which went up in 1930, Arlington Village in 1939, and the Ring Building in Washington in 1948. He built the Washington Hebrew Congregation building in 1951 and the Woodmont Country Club. He also executed large developments elsewhere in the country.

Besides his career in construction and real estate development, Mr. Ring was active in banking and kept a stable of Thoroughbred race horses.

Colonial Village was the first project financed through the Federal Housing Administration. Its 1,052 apartments were put up on a 55-acre site on Wilson Boulevard between Rosslyn and Clarendon and 12 acres were kept as open space. It has been used as a model for similar developments elsewhere in the country. Mr. Ring owned the development until 1977, when he sold it to the Mobil Corp.

"People kept telling me I was crazy to build over there," he recalled in an interview with The Washington Post in 1977. He said critics thought it was "too far out in the country." He got financing through the newly organized FHA after several banks turned him down.

Mr. Ring remained active in his business until he retired in 1978 and dissolved the company. For many years, he also was a director of the American Security and Trust Co. and was chairman of its executive committee until he resigned in 1977.

Mr. Ring was born in Weston, W.Va. He grew up in Washington, where he graduated from Central High School and attended George Washington University. He went into the construction buinsess as a young man and founded his own company in 1928.

Survivors include his wife, the former Marion Lowenberg, whom he married in 1928, of Washington; a daughter, Carlyn Ring of Hampton Falls, N.H., and three grandchildren.