Considered to be Dan Kiley’s residential masterpiece and an iconic Modernist garden, this 13-acre property was developed between 1953 and 1957 as a unified design through the close teamwork of landscape architect Kiley, architects Eero Saarinen and Kevin Roche, interior designer Alexander Girard, and clients Irwin and Xenia Miller. The house interior is structured by a cruciform grid of steel columns. The garden is divided into multiple outdoor rooms, reflecting the geometric order of the house and responding to adjacent interior spaces. Its highly structured site plan has a strong emphasis on orthogonal geometry, but without conventional symmetry.
The entrance drive is flanked by an allée of horse chestnut trees. An orchard of apple trees, planted in a grid, is just east of the drive. The landscape’s grandest feature is an allée of honey locusts defining an axis along the west side of the house, extending almost to the limits of the property. Historically, sculptures by Henry Moore and Jacques Lipschitz anchored the two ends of the axis. Buff-colored crushed stone, finely textured, contrasts with the dark green of the honey locusts. Edged by a row of red maples, an open “meadow” slopes toward the river, ultimately becoming a natural wooded area.
In 2000, the Miller property became the first National Historic Landmark listed for a still-living landscape architect. The property was the home of Mrs. Miller until her death in 2008. In 2009 the Indianapolis Museum of Art took official ownership of the property.