Walter Hood’s Minimalist Garden in the Sky

I can truthfully say I’ve never designed a “modernist” or “contemporary” garden. One of the things I enjoyed most about my participation in APLD’s annual conference in the Bay Area this year was the opportunity to see a number of gardens with a modern aesthetic. (Look for the upcoming post on a Bernard Trainor garden in the foothills of the Peninsula area, or the last post on the stunning Tah.Mah.Lah). So I wanted to share with you one of my early favorites from the tours we took.

Described in our e-materials (the conference organizers decided to use an iBook, a terrific idea, to provide us background information on the schedule, gardens, etc.) as “Modern Garden – Commentary on Restraint,” this garden was designed by the eminent landscape architect Walter Hood. Located in the Telegraph Hill area of San Francisco, this garden is on the upper levels of a spectacular private residence whose owner graciously allowed us to traipse up to both the “front” and “back” gardens, even though reaching the back involved walking through the house. I’ve decided to present the photos of this garden as a gallery below. Enjoy.

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7 Comments on “Walter Hood’s Minimalist Garden in the Sky”


  1. I like the clean and simple lines in this garden. I especially like the vertical wall that is covered with vines. Thanks for sharing these photos with us.

  2. Liz Reed Says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Melissa. I rarely get to see this style of garden. Do you know what material the Muir Woods lithograph is done on? I just love the way its incorporated into the design, and the strategic height for experiencing the litho while seated and the distant landscape while standing

    • Melissa Says:

      Wish I knew. That information wasn’t in the written materials we had, although I’m sure some enterprising designers asked while we were on site. The space was so small we were divided into groups to get into the garden, so I may have missed that particular teaching moment. And although Hood was one of the conference’s keynote speakers, he didn’t talk specifically about this garden.


  3. Beautiful and smart. Those chairs are wonderful.


  4. The lithograph is superb! I find there is not many outlets to find outdoor art pieces so creating custom ones seems like such an obvious solution and really helps tell a story. The terra cotta containers on the shelves is a great use of containers in mass. Very dynamic.

  5. maria Says:

    hi Is it the glass lighting thing in the back of the cotainers a stairway?

    • Melissa Says:

      Maria, I don’t know the answer. We didn’t have access to the part of the “deck” behind the containers so I couldn’t tell. It’s certainly possible since the condo was multi-level.


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