Harold Garde was born to immigrant parents in 1923 New York City. He attended N.Y.C public schools and spent three years as a science major at the College of the City of New York. After WWII ended, he attended the University of Wyoming on the GI Bill after three years in the Army Air Forces, with time spent in the Philippines. Garde worked for the art department as a student assistant and received a BA in Fine Arts studying with faculty members surrealist Leon Kelly, the abstract expressionist George McNeil and the geometric abstractionist Ilya Bolotowsky. When he returned to New York, Garde attended Columbia University and received his MA in Fine Arts and Art Education. He taught secondary school art for two years in Roselle, New Jersey before returning to New York City where he worked at commercial interior design.
In 1968, Garde became an adjunct professor in the Art Department at the Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY. He continued painting and exhibiting, and in 1971 became a full time art teacher in the secondary school system of Port Washington, N.Y. in addition to his professorship at Nassau Community College.
In 1970 Garde had his first solo showing in Huntington, N.Y. and since then has continued to exhibit regularly. In 1984 he retired from teaching and moved to Belfast, Maine, with his late wife, the writer, Barbara Kramer. Ten years later they bought a winter home in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Garde continues to divide his time between his homes and studios in Maine and Florida.