American Modernist Garden

This garden is one of the Paradise Garden Collection at Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand and follows on from my previous post.

American Modernist Garden

Modernist style was an international phenomenon, not just a 20th century American  tradition. Its gardens are focused on relaxed outdoor living, a perfect match to sun soaked, upwardly mobile California. Sunny yellow outdoor chairs, raised deck-like forms, water features and popular culture murals set the scene at Hamilton Gardens.


Design of modernist gardens is usually related to the use of the garden and they are often dominated by elements like swimming pools, barbecue and outdoor eating areas. There is usually a strong visual and practical relationship between house and garden. The plants used in the Modernist garden were usually native to the local area and this garden is based upon the designs by Californian designer Thomas Church (1902 – 1978) with plants from the south-west of the USA.

12 thoughts on “American Modernist Garden

    • I am Sue, but my camera does have a tilt screen which is useful to get shots from low down without having to kneel (don’t get me wrong, I can kneel, I’m not that decrepit YET, but it’s debatable as to whether I can get up again) 😀 😀

      • Jude you make me smile. With all that you show me on the blog I certainly don’t think of you as decrepit! I appreciate the answer and that makes sense that it is taken from a lower angle. i really like it!

    • Thanks Sue. Nice to know I make you smile 🙂
      What I liked about this garden, and to be frank there wasn’t much I did like, is the planting of the blueish aloes alongside the blue curved walls, now that I found to be very clever design.

    • It was raining quite heavily at this point which didn’t help with the photos. I think this might look better in mid-summer when those native plants are at their best, and of course in California this would be in a much hotter climate where the pool would be more of a feature and where you’d love to laze on those chairs. I rather liked the chairs 🙂

  1. I’m afraid I don’t much like it either, it took me a few minutes to work out why, it just isn’t inviting in any way! I do like your treatment of the last image though.

    • Read my reply to Meg, Gilly. I used a silk effect on the last photo, thought the wall and the aloes were well matched (plus this helped to hide the raindrops on the lens 😀 )

  2. I agree with the other comments Jude. This style does not have the soul that the others have, but it is an interesting contrast and a statement on the way the garden, at this point in history, was used as a place to relax, play and eat, made easy maintenance so that the garden was only the backdrop. Also at this point the houses were getting larger and the gardens smaller, so the gardens were looked on as an extension to the house.

    • Quite right PP. Not every garden has to be the ‘English Country Garden’ full of flowers (and hard work). I think I’d like this more if there was a few more pots around. Maybe when you visit it will look different.

      • I guess it boils down to how much work you want to put into your garden. I used to grow annuals, lots of potted plants and hanging baskets spending hours in the garden and loving it, but that style is no good left on its own when we go travelling, so now I go for minimalist, lots of shrubs and ground cover and all tropical and lots of natives. It can, almost, look after itself with the occasional heavy prune…

  3. I’m sensing a pattern here…very short dof…or perhaps post processing in PS. Nicely done what ever you are doing 🙂

Comments are closed.