Preben Jakobsen Modernist garden design

Modern garden design by landscape architect
Abstract Modern garden design by Preben Jakobsen

Karen Fitzsimon wrote (in the Telegraph 27 February 2015) about a visit to one of Preben Jakobsen’s best gardens: ‘Standing in front of the property, I took a punt and decided to knock on the door. I fully expected the garden to no longer exist and for the original owner to have moved on. My intention was to ascertain the present owner’s details so that I could formally write to them. But how does one explain that when greeted by a charming housekeeper whose first language isn’t English? Luckily, I held in my hand a copy of English Garden Design: History and Styles Since 1650 by Tom Turner, which has a number of good photographs of the garden.’ I smiled at her difficulty repeating my c1985 difficulty in finding an example of an Abstract Modern garden in the UK. Tracing influences is always difficult but the first Modernist garden I remember at the Chelsea Flower Show was designed by Jakobsen (in 1982, I think). Since then, Modernism has taken over Chelsea’s main avenue. Jakobsen was a Danish landscape architect and horticulturist, trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Landscape architects have often led trends in garden design.

Tom Turner