A Guide to Modern Landscape Design

Landscape Design

Rejuvenate your landscape with a modern aesthetic. Highlight angles, lines, and patterns. Balance the rigid hardscape with plants, design features, furniture, and subtle color with an accent or two. Use natural elements to create warmth. Keep it simple!

Are you dreaming of freshening up your landscape? Over time, the design and layout that was once exciting to you can begin to feel old and tiresome. Rejuvenate your landscaping with a modern design that will feel like a breath of fresh air. We’ve provided a guide to help you transform your backyard, patio, or garden into an inspiring outdoor space.

Patterns, Lines, and Shapes

Modern design emphasizes patterns, lines, and shapes. Keep your outdoor space looking neat with open space, symmetry, sharp angles, and repetition; focus attention on colors and features you want to highlight by incorporating only a few accents.

  • Choose a few types of plants that you can repeat throughout the design
  • Select plants like bamboo, ornamental grasses, and agave that have symmetrical growing patterns
  • Create clean edges and lines by shaping trees and hedges (like Japanese boxwood) into defined silhouettes.
  • Maintain lawn care and maintenance. A manicured lawn with crisp edges can contribute to the modern aesthetic while providing space and color.

Incorporate Color with Intention

To keep with the modern look, choose a couple of accent colors and keep the rest subtle. You might install one or two colorful features or plants that will stand out against shades of green. The accent could be a bright modern sculpture, a vibrant flowering plant, or a furniture accessory like colorful couch cushions.

Create Contrast with Hardscapes

Juxtapose materials like concrete and rock with the soft edges of ornamental grasses, hedges, lawns, and other plants. Since these materials can absorb and emit heat, increasing the temperature of the ground and air around them, Floridians should incorporate them strategically.

Consider these suggestions for how to use hardscapes:

  • Use concrete pavers to provide space for sitting and walking while creating patterns with lines and geometric shapes. Pavers leave room for grass and provide color contrast.
  • Use rock mulch along structures to prevent soil erosion from runoff but stick to organic mulch in garden beds to regulate soil temperature.
  • Incorporate metal elements to provide contrast with wood and plants. You might choose metal structural supports or keep it simple with metal planters.
  • Whether using pavers or slabs of concrete, leave plenty of space in between for grass or other plants.
  • Create a raised walkway with wood planks for a modern yet natural look. Keep this in mind if you’re working with uneven terrain. Eco-friendly, easy-care, wood-look composites are great options for people who don’t want the chore of maintaining real wood.

Features and Furniture

Don’t rush the process of selecting design features or furniture. These pieces can make or break your modern space!

  • Select furniture with clear lines and angles
  • Install wooden furniture with warm colors as a contrast to hardscaping
  • Include water features to add tranquility, gentle sounds, and even drama to outdoor spaces. If you have a creek on your property, take advantage of the natural feature by designing around it. Otherwise, install a simple fountain or water garden.

Modern, Not Sterile

Modern and minimalist design doesn’t have to be cold, sterile, or unwelcome. While your space may have strict angles and structure, you can provide balance with warm colors and natural elements.

  • Install a perennial in an angular planter or corner to slightly soften the edges
  • Use lighting, accent furniture cushions, a few flowers, and wood to create warmth
  • Add color and soften edges by training a vine to grow on a feature like a modern pergola

When mixing texture and color into your design, be deliberate and restrained. Remember to use only a few different types of plants and to choose only one or two colors. The aesthetic becomes more traditional than modern as space is filled with more elements, colors, shapes, and plants.

It takes work and intentionality to keep it simple, but in the end, less is more. The uncluttered modern design allows space for you to focus, relax, and breathe.

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