The Garden Guide

El Novillero Garden - Donnell Garden

Also known as the Donnell Garden, in Sonoma, El Novillero is a marvellous example of the curvilinear Abstract Style and, in the words of the Oxford Companion to Gardens 'one of the most significant gardens of the twentieth century'. It may well be the most photographed. The house and garden sit in the Sonoma Hills with a good prospect over California. The swimming pool is set in paving and decking, framed by Live Oaks. Though often described as 'free-form', the swimming pool is V-shaped with radial curves (and is visible on the satellite image on the map below). The design recalls images from cubist and surrealist painting. It has a sublime calm. Landscape architect Lawrence Halprin was the designer. See information from the Cultural Landscape Foundation: Donnell Garden. See on Instagram #donnellgarden

El Novillero, the Donnell Garden (Photo courtesy Chris Fullmer)

27235 Arnold Drive, Sonoma County, Sonoma, California, USA

Not open to the public except for occasional tours.

Nearby gardens

Designers and Influences