In the area which had previously been called the South Garden, there is now the glass connector to the Historic Palace, the Achtmeyer Terrace Garden (outside Café G on the Palace Road side of the site) and the Darlene and Jerry Jordan Garden (outside the Living Room).
The South Garden was created in 1903. It was traditionally more open, with a lawn and walks with narrow planting beds beside them. Here in the sun, Isabella Gardner had perennials and bulbs. A hand-colored postcard from 1951 shows the walks with blooming tulips and other flowers. Significant changes were made to the South Garden in the late 1970s, when it was redesigned by Eleanor M. McPeck. She wrote “Changes were made to the outside garden to the south of the Museum, which has become overgrown since its landscaping in the early 1930s. In contrast to the Monks Garden to the east of the building, which is heavily planted with New England vegetation, the new design is open and simple in concept.”
In 2012, when the Gardner opened its new wing designed by Renzo Piano, it also introduced a new plan for the exterior gardens including outdoor spaces which would be visually compelling from within the glass walled first floor and inviting to visitors during the warmer months. The gardens also serve as possible locations for outdoor programming, experimentation and artists installations.