The Garden

The 7,000 square-metre Liebermann garden was designed by Alfred Brodersen according to ideas developed by Max Liebermann and the Hamburg museum director and garden reformer Alfred Lichtwark. In accordance with the principles of the garden reform movement that was gathering pace around 1900, the design incorporated elements typical of various historical gardens, such as beds surrounded by boxwood, high lime hedging and hornbeam hedgerows. The garden’s clear main line of vision and the views between its different areas are also characteristic of the style.

Cottage and flower garden

The area nearest the street features a lush garden of perennials and vegetables, inspired by the North German cottage garden tradition. A central path flanked by wide summer flower beds and bordered with boxwood runs through the entire front garden up to the two Ionic columns marking the entrance to the loggia at the front of the villa. A row of lime trees planted perpendicular to the path separates this part of the garden from the building’s front courtyard, which features lawn areas and boxwood balls. A particular attraction here are rare historical plants, such as tithonia, and the vegetable garden, where cabbage, beans and tomatoes grow today, just as they did in
Liebermann’s time. It is this combination of vegetable and flower garden, so typical of Liebermann’s garden concept, that still fascinates visitors today.

The birch path, the flower terrace and the hedge gardens

The garden to the rear of the building features the famous flower terrace, the birch path, the hedge gardens and a long lawn stretching down to the shore of Lake Wannsee. The three hedge gardens played a key role in the overall concept for Liebermann’s garden and form the centrepiece of Alfred Lichtwark’s ideas for its design. The “green chambers” created by the hornbeam hedges are intended to create a sense of mystery about what lies within. Each of the hedge gardens is based on a different geometric shape: The first is square, the second oval, and the third isa circle intersected by a cross formed by two perpendicular paths. The three hedge gardens are situated along the northern edge of the property and linked by a path. The white garden bench at the beginning of this central axis affords an unimpeded view of the succession of gardens and the lake beyond.