Designing a Contemporary Garden
In a contemporary space the garden is essentially an outdoor room, an extension of the living areas of the home. Its purpose is usually to provide space for entertaining, often with hard landscaping at its core. Lines are kept straight and clean, with great attention to detail for a quality finish. Planting tends to be kept to a minimum but used to more dramatic effect. This can lead to a lower maintainance style of planting which can be useful if the client has little time for gardening.
The key to a successful contemporary garden design is to ensure that the garden remains warm and inviting despite the extent of the hard surfaces and cool colours which could make it look a bit sterile.
To give a modern finish to your garden design use materials such as sandstone, granite, slate and glass, and mix with hardwood, concrete and render. The natural colour of many of these materials can have a cool appearance which can be uninviting if overused. Introduce additional subtle colour changes, with the use of oiled wood or weathered Cor-Ten steel, or paint render in soft tones, maybe picking up on a colour used inside the home. Remember to consider what works best with the style of architecture of the house. It doesn't mean that you cannot have a modern garden with a traditional home, just make sure the materials work in harmony with your house and is not too severe a contrast.
The contemporary garden design can blur the lines between the home and garden so choose similar materials or colours in the hard landscaping to help pull the two zones together into a seamless living space.
As these contemporary ‘room outdoors’ are designed to be an extension of the home, lighting is an essential consideration, extending the use of the garden in to the evenings. Choose warmer LED bulbs and consider the colour of the actual fittings so that they sit well in the garden during the day. Soft copper tones and bronze fittings become less of a feature and blend better with their surroundings. Stainless steel light fittings, although often the choice in a contemporary garden, may stand out too much in daylight hours. Consider what shoudl be lit.
Contemporary garden features to consider to enhance your 'outdoor room' for entertaining range from using water as a statement piece, firepits, outdoor fireplace, architectural canopies, outdoor kitchen or built in BBQ, all of which can add a sophisticated addition for social gatherings.
Pull planting into these hard spaces with planters which can be at ground level or raised planters. Planting in the contemporary garden will be bold with strong silhouettes and plenty of texture. Colour schemes will be limited with a simple palette, and plants will be planted in drifts or blocks with plenty of repetition for a unifying look.
After extending our house we were left with an awkwardly shaped garden and as it was north facing, mainly shady too. The new garden that Louise has created is a real surrise and a delight to use, helping to make the space look much larger and making the most of the sunny spots.Mr & Mrs Fraser, Bramhall