Few spaces in the home are as rewarding as a well-made garden. We have been using them for centuries as both a space to relax, and a place of beauty. In modern terms with spaces ranging from the extremely large to the absolute minimal, the garden space has been adapted to fit our needs. Technology has also provided us with new ways to innovate the way in which we use gardens, and how we take care of them.
Styling a modern garden
Traditional gardens were wide open spaces with few decorations save select furniture and the plants which grew in them. In modern terms, space has become more limited as urbanization has taken place, meaning that gardens are now becoming a mixture of architecture and plant life together more than ever before.
Modern and minimal styles are characterized by straight, clean lines and minimal, usually neutral colors. The same can be said about the types of architecture we see in modern garden structures. Carefully chosen bridges, wooden or stone walkways, and large regular shaped furniture is part of the styling of a modern garden area.
More often than not, a modern garden is offset by low cut grass, and a selected few plants in certain places. Regular shaped planting boxes or large regular pots are the norm, usually painted in a neutral color or left as concrete or stone.
For effect many people choose to plant their colorful perennial flowers or flowering shrubs in these areas to add effect or for a splash of vibrance.
You can choose to plant things in specific places, but more natural growth patterns look better. Due to the way in which the architecture plays a part, modern garden treads a thin line between looking warm and natural and too clinical and overly engineered.
Types of plants and where to plant them
Where traditional gardens were often used to show particular plants from around the globe or for stylistic purposes, the more modern approach is to opt for plants which come from that state, which means a few things. Firstly, there is less maintenance needed for plants which grow naturally in the area. Secondly, those plants chosen will also attract the wildlife and insect life indigenous to the region, meaning it’s more eco-friendly. Also having indigenous plants means that they will grow more easily and look better long-term than alien plant life does.
Choose trees and larger plants wisely if you have a larger garden. Be aware that roots and trunks grow thick, and no amount of paving or concrete can stop them from doing so. Remember to also choose a tree that fits your style, and what you want to achieve with it.
A large broad tree like red oak or pin oak are beautiful, but they will drop leaves in winter and also shade a small garden are quite easily. Pines grow quite tall,and quickly too, with broader lower branches.
If you live in an apartment and simply need to add a touch of green to your life, consider shrubs for your porch which are easily trimmed and don’t grow too high. Keep these in stone planting pots or pots which match the look and feel of your space to properly manage clean lines, using the plants to accentuate the architecture.
If you have glass walls on on your porch, planting broad or long leafed plants can be a way to get a large amount of natural green color with minimal space.
Garden lighting at night
Chances are that if you have a garden area you will want to use it in summer to entertain people, so lighting is important. Let this feed into your pathway design to make the best of the area available. Simple walls dividing the plants from a paved path looks fantastic, and is made better by having low to medium lighting at knee level.
If you have a deck area or a roof over a space which you entertain people in, consider dividing this with large pots as walls (with plants growing in them of course) Add interior lighting to the area on the inside of these, or light the area from the roof using low to medium lighting for a warm effect.
Choosing your furniture
There are so many ways to decorate an outside space that it can be difficult to decide which way to go. We’d recommend you talk to a landscaping artist in order to see what the best options are for you.
If you have an outside bar area with a patio, bar chairs are a great addition, especially when paired with a nice concrete or marble bar top. This keeps the area looking natural whilst maintaining some practical use. Similarly, if you have a large table in the center of an entertainment area, use large settees or ottomans to leave space for views to be seen.
Wooden furniture is popular since it is durable and lasts a long time, but be prepared to varnish and polish it regularly, especially if it stays outside for its lifespan.
Manage your tastes and style with what looks good
It can be easy to go overboard with styling a garden area, and modern gardens take this to the extreme with mixtures of modern decor and design. Be careful of color choices, especially if you have chosen to use plants which already present vibrant color to the garden.
Keeping neutral colors will ensure that your garden remains the showpiece, and you prefer more vibrant decor then why not let the plants you choose do that for you?
At the end of the day, your garden is your own, and there are many ways to style it, but a professional can still help you to get the most out it, so why not see what advice your local landscaper or garden designer can give you? Hopefully with the right guidance, you can get the most out of nature and be enjoying a new, well put together garden in no time!