Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020, more Americans are buying houses than ever before. For a first time homeowner, picking out the paint colors, lighting, and new hardware can be very exciting. We want to set up a home that reflects our personal styles, with a layout that fits our unique lifestyles. When you get to planning the improvements you want to make, remember, few improvements bring a bigger return on investment than landscaping.
If you’re new to gardening and want something easy to care for, a modern landscape design may be a great solution. It’s not the type of landscaping that requires hundreds of annuals each year to add seasonal color and may be a godsend if you live in an area susceptible to drought. If that sounds like something you need in your life, let’s look at what modern landscape design entails and what benefits it can provide.
With traditional landscaping styles, nearly anything goes. They tend to be defined by a wide array of plant species, vibrantly colored flowers, and ornaments and accents that make your space unique. They are also very versatile. You can include nearly any materials you like in accenting your design.
Traditional gardens are beautiful, but they are a lot of work. The plants need pruning, the grass needs watering, and you’ll likely find yourself replacing annuals and laying new mulch year after year. Traditional garden styles emphasize softscape over hardscape, meaning the plants are the centerpieces, and the actual, livable area is often an afterthought. You’ve got fewer places to gather, and the bugs and wildlife that are drawn to this type of property can make outdoor meals tougher to sit through. If you don’t have the time or money to properly maintain traditional gardens, you can have a real mess on your hands.
Modern landscape design is much more than a green lawn and pretty flowers. Modern landscape design highlights negative space through the use of hardscaping and is characterized by clean, straight lines and right angles. In fact, modern landscaping focuses more on the hardscape than it does the softscape. The neutral colors of the concrete provide a beautiful backdrop for whatever you choose to accent it with and gives you ample space to enjoy the outdoors. As far as accents go, modern landscape designers generally use wood, metal, and other concrete structures like planters and bird baths to round out the look.
Modern landscaping is an excellent choice for warm climates, where outdoor spaces get a lot of use. The patios and pathways provide great places to gather, and they don’t get tamped down by foot traffic the way grass does.
The minimalist aesthetic of modern landscaping relies heavily upon the large blocks of concrete that keep it from becoming cluttered. You don’t want your yard to be entirely made of concrete, but with solid planning, you can replace much of the grass that requires regular maintenance with worry free walkways and seating areas.
Hardscape isn’t limited to patios and pathways either. Pools are common attributes in modern landscape design. They give us a reason to gather and can be used to add diversity to the design. If you’re really focused on reducing your maintenance duties, remember that pools require a lot of it, and if you choose to incorporate one into your design, you’ll either have to get motivated or hire someone to care for it on your behalf.
Although many people use the terms interchangeably, modern and contemporary are two different types of landscapes. They both focus on minimalism, but modern landscaping focuses on those straight lines and hard angles, where contemporary landscaping is more likely to feature meandering pathways and kidney shaped landscape designs.
Contemporary landscape designs usually start with existing trees and shrubs and design the space around them. Modern landscape designs come to life in the opposite direction and start with a functional hardscape design and incorporate foliage based on that framework.
If you like the idea of the clean lines and angles associated with modern landscape design, that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate the other looks you have in mind as well. There are all kinds of creative landscape options that combine the modern look with other types of popular landscaping styles. Let’s look at some ways you can incorporate other elements into your design.
If you’re partial to the more formal landscaping ideas you’ve seen, you’re in luck. Modern landscape design was built around straight rows of plants and symmetry. Choose a few great plant species, and give them space. Formal landscaping doesn’t look particularly natural, but it delivers great visual impact. Find plants with great texture and finished wood to round this look out.
If you prefer the natural look, with a wide variety of plant species and naturalistic plant groupings, you can incorporate that into your modern design as well. Choose areas where wild vines and colorful flowers will work, and those spots can add some terrific visual interest to your design. Don’t go overboard with it, though, since the landscape may feel disjointed if the two styles don’t mesh. If you want to mix modern and informal, it may be best to enlist the help of a qualified landscape architect.
If you want to add a little patina to your modern landscape design, going rustic modern may be a good fit. Creating a modern design while using rustic landscaping elements adds a touch of classic style to any property. Reclaimed items like seating and pavers give your modern landscape a more homey feel. There are many rustic landscaping ideas that work very well with modern hardscape design. Find some that fit into your design, and you’ll be very happy with the mix of modern and vintage elements.
If the region in which you live doesn’t get a lot of rain, you may have to get creative with your landscaping plan to create a space that looks great but doesn’t eat up your weekends with chores and maintenance. Xeriscape landscaping is a style of modern landscape design that reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation. This is accomplished through the use of inorganic materials like gravel and rock. Add some desert plants, and you’ll have little to no maintenance on your plate.
In modern landscape design, the seating areas are common focal points. As such, you won’t want to go with anything too underwhelming or overwhelming. Wicker sets are a popular solution. They deliver the same straight lines and right angles and are substantial enough that they feel like interior furniture brought outdoors. Simple shapes that complement the straight lines in your hardscape can also provide a nice pop. Whatever route you go, choose wisely. The right furniture selection can give your landscape style to spare or make it feel unfinished.
If you want to keep your parties going late into the night, you’ll need to add some lighting. Modern landscape lighting is generally rectangular, just like the hardscapes that define the style. A great landscape lighting design can add vertical movement and highlight important areas of the design. It can also make your property safer at night.
While many people initially jump on lighting for the gathering areas in their backyards, don’t forget the front. Incorporating great lighting design into your modern front yard landscaping delivers instant curb appeal that will make your neighbors green with envy and can drive the value of your home up.
When you’re ready to make your dreams a reality, the only way to know whether the types of landscape design styles you have in mind are feasible and within your price range is to consult with the pros. They have experience with all types of landscape design and can help you understand what works and what doesn’t. They can also let you know what types of landscaping services you’ll require to get the job done right and can help you come up with a modern landscape design that works with your property’s unique shape and grade.
Landscaping is a simple concept with complex means of attaining the right look. It’s a mix of hardscape and softscape that highlights the topography and plants that make us happy. There are a lot of ways to give your garden style, but it’s important to plan and execute in a way that feels natural and thrives in your region. Get started early in the spring, and your masterpiece can be completed in time for summer.
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