03 August 2017

The Gardens of Peter Marino

Over the span of 20 years Peter Marino, the black leather-clad architect, has created a garden at his Southampton home only he could create. He recounts in the book's introduction a friend's reaction to the garden, 'This could only be the garden of an architect- and an American one at that.'
& As I say- only Marino.

An 18th-century sculpture of Diana guards The Great Lawn–an all green space, standing in a reflecting pool. Beyond the pool, The Forest. 
Jason Schmidt photographer

Marino's work for DIOR retail stores across the world is proof of his genius- an undefinable sparse elegance and, historical modernity.
It's a tightrope that only masters can balance.
His expansive gardens are of equal importance in his work, and The Garden of Peter Marino, an oversize book, indicates that.

Le Minotaure, an almost 7 foot bronze by Francois-Xavier Lalanne stands at the head of the lotus filled frog fountain in The Rose Garden. 176 Flower Power roses surround the pool.
Jason Schmidt

The garden's structure is logical-a guiding principle any good architect adheres to. Marino's "'rooms,' squares and rectangles, with everything organized on a single axis," hold Marino's remarkable fantasy garden & fantasy is what animates the grand garden.

The Rose Garden
Jason Schmidt

Along with the surprising abandon of the plantings within each "garden room," striking blocks of color play a prominent role-purples, reds, pinks, and yellows.  Four of the 'rooms' are planted by color. and three gardens by species-hydrangea, rose, and azalea.  In addition, there is a great lawn, a forest, an allee, and an orchard.

a close-up of a lemon tree in Marino's Orchard- his own Garden of Eden
Jason Schmidt photographer

Vache Attentive-the attentive cow, a Lalanne sculpture, grazes in The Red Garden
Extending from the kitchen door, the garden is planted with herbs, monarda, Astilbe, lobelia, verbena, hibiscus, poppy, rose, and Dahlia- all in red. 

The triumph of the Marino twelve acre garden is the architect's inclusion of forty-two Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne sculptures. Claude Lalanne writes the book's  foreword, brief, its sincerity and genuine appreciation of Peter Marino is obvious. "He was our fairy godfather." Known as "Les Lalannes," the couple created their Surrealist sculptures drawn from the natural world to be a part of daily life.  Married for forty-one years, the couple inspired each other's work, with Francois-Xavier sculpting animals and Claude the botanical. Their collaboration was in fact, a meeting of the minds, with the pair united in their love for the surreal, context in their work, and whimsicality.

Grand Oiseau de Nuit in bronze by Francois-Xavier Lalanne
Jason Schmidt

In a hot and humid summer down South, the sui generis garden of Peter Marino is timely and enticing. At the garden's gate, Francois-Xavier's Grand Wapiti, eight-foot long elk is an augury of the magic that lies within.

The book's cover by Jason Schmidt features The Hydrangea Garden with Claude Lalanne's Banbiloba settee in gilt bronze providing beauty and a respite from The Garden of Peter Marino.

By Peter Marino
Principal Photography by Jason Schmidt and Manolo Yilera
available at Rizzoli here


  1. Thanks for the peek Gaye. I couldn't imagine a Peter Marino garden when I saw the name. Saw a plug for your new book in Traditional Home today.

    1. Hi Donna. I agree, but the plantings are very American species inspired. I love the Lalanne sculptures, just wish there had been more close ups. Thanks for letting me know about Trad Home. I need to check it out. pgt

  2. LOVELY to have the space and the vision.The garden gives back SO MUCH!

    1. I would love that much space-as it is I just seem to maintain the little bit I have for the dog to scratch around in! Look forward to meeting you in Oct! pgt



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