Landscaping and interesting plants create a contemporary look
Looking for something more structured than a cottage garden, but less traditional than a classic garden? Introduce some contemporary style into your outdoor space with a modern garden.
With modern gardens, it’s easy to just think they’re all about straight lines and gleaming stainless steel. But they can be so much more than that. And by using all-weather materials in unusual ways, you can create a chic, on-trend look in your garden.
The modern garden style works brilliantly regardless of how big your space is. It suits both large and small, and can be one of the best looks if you're limited for room with a courtyard garden or balcony. And it can also be low-maintenance, requiring little attention whilst also looking fantastic.
Sound like the style for you? Read on for our helpful tips on how to introduce that modern, look into your garden.
Tools & materials required
Top tips to create a modern garden design
Landscaping ideas for the modern garden
The focus of the contemporary garden is most commonly the landscaping elements.
Decking has become a standard feature of many modern gardens due to its attractive yet practical nature. It can fit in almost any size space and our range of decking oils and stains mean that you can customise it to complement your garden.
If you have the space, introduce a second landscaping material to add contrasting texture. We love the combination of wooden decking and smooth paving slabs. Check out our range of contemporary-themed paving ranges that include natural stone materials, such as limestone, granite and slate, for a really polished look.
For smaller gardens, coloured gravel or stones work well against a decked or paved area. And play around with landscaping on different levels to create an interesting visual effect.
Planting ideas for the modern garden
The key to a modern garden is simple planting with interesting flowers and foliage.
Evergreen plants are a fantastic option as they look good in your garden all year round. And, once established, they need little more than watering and the occasional feed making them a great for gardeners short on time. Grasses are also an ideal choice for the modern garden as they sway and rustle in the breeze and stay looking good all year round.
We love bamboo (Phyllostachys) (pictured) – this evergreen grass (also known as giant grass) is tall and dramatic and comes in various different versions. Check out black bamboo (Nigra) for a particularly stunning specimen – it boasts light green leaves and thick canes that turn a glossy black in their second season. Bamboo is a versatile choice that can be grown in the ground or in containers, in the sun or in partial shade making it suitable for a wide variety of outdoor spaces.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus offcinalis) is another popular choice for modern outdoor spaces. Not only does it have aromatic, narrow leaves that can be used in your kitchen, this evergreen herb offers purple/blue flowers from mid-spring to summer that will attract bees and butterflies. Plant it in beds, borders or pots that are in the sunshine.
When it comes to trees, the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) (oictured) is a tough but beautiful choice. Bred for centuries in Japan, this deciduous small tree is small enough to be planted in a pot as well in the ground. It has coloured leaves from deepest bronzes to bright red and lime green, and these colours often change through the season, usually ending with brilliant oranges and reds in autumn.
If you’re looking to add a climber, we recommend Wisteria for contemporary gardens. It has a woody stem and fragrant, pea-like flowers in lavender/purple. Grow it over your walls, pergolas, or even any trees, or alternatively grow as freestanding.
Extra ideas for modern garden
Make the most of your modern garden after sunset with outdoor lighting. It not only offers extra security, but also creates a lovely night-time atmosphere. Bring the whole look together with decking lights. These are integrated into your deck boards and work brilliantly on steps to keep everyone safe from falls. Or opt for lights in a minimalist designs – the brushed stainless steel ones are discreet but distinguished.
Sit back and enjoy from the comfort of an outdoor sofa. More informal than dining sets, they’re great for socialising with friends and family or stretch out and indulge in some garden lounging. We love ones with clean, straight lines in the contemporary garden – especially the Batang range. Its angular metal frame and grey cushions ensure that you don’t skimp on style when relaxing.
And if you enjoy a large garden, invest in an eye-catching arch. These add height, focus and interest and can be placed to frame everything from pathways to patios for a really dramatic look. We love metal ones – ideal for adding a contemporary touch.