The Garden Guide

Getty Center Garden

Photograph © Karl Gercens
Photograph © Karl Gercens
Photograph © Karl Gercens
Photograph © Karl Gercens
Photograph © J. Paul Getty Trust/Jim Duggan
Photograph © J. Paul Getty Trust/Jim Duggan
Photograph © Robert Irwin/J. Paul Getty Trust
A modern garden by Robert Irwin in a museum designed by Richard Meier. Irwin is an installation artist and was a member of California's 'light and space' movement in the 1960's. He described his work for the Getty as 'a sculpture in the form of a garden aspiring to be art.' The clinical abstraction of the building contrasts with the rich textures of the garden. The garden was designed by the artist Robert Irwin 1992-7. He worked with the architect of the Getty Centre, Richard Meier, and with the landscape architecture firm Spurlock Poirier. The design of the garden re-establishes the natural ravine between the Museum and the Research Institute. A tree-lined walkway crosses the stream passing through areas of exotic grasses and descends to a plaza with bougainvillea arbors. The stream flows through the plaza and cascades over a stone waterfall into a pool. There are special gardens round the pool with the plants and hard materials selected for their interplay of color, light, and reflections. The garden provides a campus setting for the immaculate white travertine buildings and there panoramic views of Los Angeles. 'In the studio you may reference nature but you also reference all art. The big shift for me is that my art practice is now not so much referenced art historically as it is conditionally. When I confront a space with its specific set of conditions, I try to take into account everything bearing on it. For example, a sense of scale is not only in and of itself but is equally conditioned by where you arrive from-the scale of the New York subway or the big sky country of Montana. I try to take all of this into account' Jan Butterfield, Robert Irwin: The Art of Light and Space (New York: Abbeville Press, 1993), p. 63

1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA, CA 90049

All year. Daily except Mondays and holidays. Open Tuesday and Wednesday 11am to 7pm. Open Thursday and Friday 11am to 9 pm. Open Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6pm.

Free (parking fee applies)

Visit the Getty Center Garden website

Nearby gardens

Local Hotels


  • about 8 years by be-am 4 / 5

    Unexpected flowerily counterbalance to the austerity of the museums white walls; ambitious garden features do not interfere with families desire to relax on lush green lawn.
    The whole complex, the "ravine" and the mighty walls create the impression of a palace garden - sort of LA castle!
    Spectacular view from a cactus garden across the metropolis!

The reviews and ratings originate in all cases from third parties. Gardenvisit is in no case responsible for the correctness or accuracy of the reviews. Reviews and similar information are not an expression of Gardenvisit's opinions.