Dive into California cool at the Modernist Garden oasis, a laidback backyard haven.

A laid-back garden for outdoor living that was born in California but flourished in suburban gardens around the world. Relax by the pool in an easy-care garden with a dash of pop art styling.

Take a walk around the poolside of this garden built for sunshine and outdoor living. This garden style was born under the Californian sun but flourished across the western world. Modernist gardens were meant to be practical and an extension of the house, with easy-care plants and space to relax or entertain. Our garden has some added inspiration from the pop art movement.



Free entry

Best viewed: all seasons

9.00am - 5.00pm, last entry 4.30pm

Easily accessible

NZ native flora

The pool in the middle of the Modernist Garden at Hamilton Gardens A view of the seated area in the Modernist Garden at Hamilton Gardens The shallow pool in the center of the Modernist Garden at Hamilton Gardens

What you'll find in the Modernist Garden

  • A large shallow pool that begs for you to dip a toe or two
  • Contemporary art and sculpture features 
  • A simple, yet striking backdrop with deckchairs perfect for lounging.

Background of the Modernist Garden

Imagine a haven of clean lines and sun-drenched relaxation. A space where form follows function and simplicity reigns supreme. This is the essence of the Modernist garden, a California-born style that has blossomed into backyards around the world.

Forget the stuffy formality of old. Modernist gardens embrace a laid-back spirit, prioritising functionality and ease of living. Picture yourself lounging by the pool, surrounded by low-maintenance greenery with a touch of playful pop art for good measure.

While traditional gardens adhered to rigid forms and prescribed layouts, Modernism broke free from the mould. These gardens are shaped by their surroundings, incorporating the architecture, function, and unique features of the space.

Practicality takes centre stage in Modernist design. Imagine swimming pools, BBQ areas, and outdoor dining spaces seamlessly integrated into the layout. The strong visual connection between the house and garden creates a cohesive outdoor living experience.

Clean lines and minimal ornamentation define the Modernist aesthetic. Symmetry and central axes take a backseat, replaced by a relaxed and spontaneous layout.

Early Modernist designs, like the Hamilton Gardens' Modernist Garden, favour flowing lines and minimalist details. Imagine the stark contrast between the geometric grid of concrete and decking juxtaposed against the curving edges of the garden and the kidney-shaped pool adorned with an abstract island sculpture. This playful interplay of shapes reflects the Cubist influence, where multiple perspectives are explored simultaneously.

The Modernist garden is more than just a style - it's an invitation to unwind and reconnect with nature in a stylish and functional way.

Ready to dive into a Californian dream? Experience the enduring appeal of the Modernist Garden.

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