Designed by Dan Kiley and his team in 1955, the Miller Garden is considered to be the first Modernist garden. The initial project was the Miller House commissioned by the industrialist and civil rights leader, J. Irwin Miller and his wife, Xenia. The Miller House was designed by Eero Saarinen, a collaborator and friend of Dan Kiley. Since the house was built first, Kiley had to work around it. Kiley had been tasked with creating a garden that reflected the house.
Kiley used his experience in Europe during WWII as an inspiration when designing the Miller Garden. Kiley’s inspiration from classical European landscaping is present in the design. Parts of the garden resemble those of Renaissance gardens using similar elements of bush and tree grove placement.
The garden seems to blend in seamlessly with the house in the sense that they have the same geometrical patterning and spatial design. Saarinen’s Miller House has four main quadrants which house different rooms. Conversely, Kiley created for quadrants in the upper portion of the garden to emulate the house’s rooms. One important thing to note is that the Kiley’s design would not have been the same had he been hired by another client. Kiley knew that this garden would be consistently maintained as the design relied on constant care.
Apologies for the images. Will scan as soon as possible.