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Modern Garden Design

Ideas for a contemporary outdoor living space

Maureen Gilmer in Morongo Valley, CA
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Modern Landscape Design
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A modern or contemporary garden is characterized by a sleek, streamlined and sophisticated style. Modern garden designs draw on the simplicity of Asian design practices. Generally, a modern garden places more focus on the architecture and materials than on the plants and greenery. Geometric shapes and repeating patterns are often employed in contemporary outdoor spaces. The main idea is to create a garden that has a controlled and organized appearance.

Modern gardens often rely on hardscaping and structural elements to achieve their minimalist look, with plants used as accents to provide contrast and color. Designs for these gardens are rarely haphazard and should be carefully thought-out so all the elements will work together in harmony.

Get these tips:In this section, you'll find tips from landscaping professionals on:

  • The three main characteristics of a typical modern paving design, including the use of oversized grid patterns, straight lines and geometric patterns.
  • Popular materials for paving a contemporary patio, such as rectangular concrete pavers and wood deck tiles.
  • Ideas for filling the spaces between paving stones to minimize maintenance and create balance.
  • Various fence and wall options that will add to the style of a modern garden, such as metal screens, wood fences with horizontal slats, and gabion walls made with metal baskets filled with stone
  • Three rules to adhere to when selecting plants for a modern garden to ensure simplicity and add to the sense of order.
  • Ideas for plants that work well in a modern garden, along with grouping tips.
  • Why it's important to avoid planting in grids and lines when going for a modern look.
  • Four ways to plant a naturalistic modern garden by using architectural plants, textural and spreading plants, and container plantings.
  • Rules of thumb to follow when potting and arranging container plants in a modern garden.
  • Recommendations for choosing modern patio furniture that will create a sleek, refined look.
  • Ideas for modern patio covers that emphasize geometric patterns and an industrial appearance.
  • How to incorporate a fountain into your modern garden that gives it a sophisticated look and creates balance.
  • Ideas for modern fountain styles that use geometric shapes, simplistic materials and multiple water spouts.

The best modern garden designs are distinguished by refined forms, pure materials and the achievement of balance.

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