A modern or contemporary garden design often has sharp lines which are used to define spaces or areas and is frequently characterised by a general absence of the use of symmetry. Modern and Contemporary garden styles are usually based on geometric layouts which use scale and proportion to add ‘drama’ to the space.
Architecture plays at least as big a role as planting in contemporary garden design. Sunken gardens, solid structures, such as pergolas, are often used in a modern styled garden.
The palette of hard landscaping materials used in paving, walls and seating areas is often understated and minimalistic. Limestones, sawn sandstone, concrete and porcelain paving offer smooth clean lines and surfaces that work well to create simple backdrops for the plants. Planting is often simpler and more architectural than in a traditional garden design.
What are the characteristics and features of Contemporary Garden Design:
Use of clean, sharp lines
Smooth materials like sawn stone, limestone, concrete, glass and steel
A more minimalistic planting palette
Use of ‘scale’ and ‘proportion to build drama and interest in the space
Extensions of the internal space, where the house interior blends with the garden outside, using a continuation of materials from indoor to out
Firepits and outdoor fireplaces are another popular feature in current contemporary gardens
Lighting can be used very effectively in contemporary garden design. At night the garden can be a dramatic backdrop to the internal life of the property.
Furniture and seating will often echo the clean lines of the contemporary design. Built in seating creates areas in which to lounge and relax or entertain.
What style of property does a Contemporary Garden best work with?
A contemporary garden works well with a newer property but the simplicity of modern design can also enhance more traditional properties. A modern garden can help to accentuate the beautiful architecture and details of a classical building and so the two can work together giving a cool relaxed, uncluttered outlook.
What are the advantages of Contemporary Gardens over Traditional Gardens?
One of the considerations you may want to make when deciding on the design of garden will be the pros and cons of certain specific styles.
Advantages of a contemporary garden design:
Lower maintenance: but not necessarily ‘low maintenance’. Contemporary gardens will often have more hard landscaping that more traditional styles of garden such as cottage or formal garden design. Larger areas of hard surfaces such as paving and decking will mean less lawn care.
Hard wearing: where lawns and beds need constant maintenance, and can show signs of wear, contemporary gardens can be harder wearing needing less day to day maintenance.
Extending your enjoyment of the garden; even in wet or cold weather, good use of cover, firepits and hard flooring can allow the garden to be used in all seasons.
Disadvantages of contemporary garden design:
Wear & Tear: Hard landscaped surfaces such as pale coloured paving and wooden decking may need to be jet-washed regularly to keep the space looking clean and calm.
Expense: The hard landscaping element of contemporary gardens can sometimes be quite expensive to install correctly which is important to ensure a long life.
Child unfriendly: Hard surfaces, expanses of water, sharp edges and stepped levels. Some features of contemporary design may not be as child friendly as a more traditional design with lawn and soft bed planting.
Fixed features: Unlike some more traditional designs, contemporary garden designs may have quite a number of ‘fixed features’ which can make adapting the design at a later date more difficult or costly.
Dated or out of fashion: One consideration might be to avoid ‘current’ fashions’ or ‘gimmicks’ that may date or fall out of fashion. Consider if you will always want to live with large or striking features or design statements, will they remain practical or will they become an issue?
Would you like to discuss designing a contemporary garden for you home?
Modern & Contemporary garden designs completed for clients.
Winchmore Hill Contemporary Garden
Our clients in Winchmore Hill wanted to make greater use of their generous sized garden. Our design includes a central dining area, shaded by parasol tress and a pathway of wooden arches, leading to a swimming pool and jacuzzi. Olive trees in the sunnier areas are complemented by a white and purple planting scheme and the nearby seating area provides the perfect sheltered spot for catching the sun.
Contemporary Roof Garden Design
Our garden loving clients asked us to design a roof terrace for their chic Marylebone town house apartment. We created additional privacy using bespoke contemporary slatted screens to the rear of the garden. The use of light weight, lead look planters provide ample planting opportunities, without compromising the integrity of the roof structure. The Mediterranean style planting is wind and drought tolerant and thrives in this hot and sunny space.
Contemporary Family Garden Design
Our clients for this project wanted to create a cool, contemporary entertaining space, from which they could enjoy the fantastic views over the Hertfordshire countryside. The focal point pool is surrounded by granite paving and iroko decking. On cooler days the garden can be enjoyed from the stylish iroko clad garden room that looks out over the garden.
Contemporary Garden Design St Albans
Our garden loving clients in St Albans asked for a redesign in a contemporary style. With strong geometry, the new design creates different areas to encourage use of the whole garden. The low maintenance decking and paving provide the perfect backdrop for the purple, blue and white planting scheme. This incorporates anemone, hydrangea and hellebores in the shady planting beds with lavender, salvia and verbena in the sunnier areas.
Contemporary Hertfordshire Garden
This large Hertfordshire garden was designed to accompany the clients' stunning new home. A wide patio entertaining area includes dining and lounge style seating and overlooks a focal point water feature. A second patio area dissects the garden and creates the perfect spot for catching sun later in the day. A purple and white planting scheme softens the garden while evergreen shrubs create structure through the year.
Basement Courtyard Garden Design
Our Hampstead clients brought us in to add life to their previously dark and uninspiring basement garden. Design using bold colour brings warmth to the space, whilst the metalwork panels add interest and reflect additional light. The new scheme is completed with shade loving plants, whose evergreen foliage will give year round structure. Now the once stark and unloved basement courtyard garden is warm and inviting.
Long and Narrow Garden Design
Following a complete house renovation, our clients asked us to redesign their long narrow, sloping garden. Our redesign breaks the space into a series of ‘rooms’ on different levels, which gradually lead you through the garden, from the dining area, up past the focal point water feature to the retaining gabions at the rear, ensuring that the whole garden is used. The borders were planted with a white flowering scheme of shrubs and perennials.
What clients say about their experience and their new garden
We had a number of meetings with Sarah to discuss ideas and she interpreted what we wanted beautifully. The companies she recommended to carry out the actual building work according to her plans were excellent. Then began the job of choosing the plant layout which, again, Sarah interpreted beautifully. Everything was planted in September 2016 and now, summer 2017, we are reaping the rewards of a mature, easy to maintain, lovely garden, both back and front. Highly recommended.
I am writing this is my study overlooking my wonderful new garden. From the first meeting to the final work, I could not have been happier. Sarah created a garden for us that 18 months on looks brilliant, even at this time of year. The end result is that we have a garden and new patio that we can enjoy and one that our grandchildren can also play in. Thank you Sarah.
Jonathan, Hampstead Garden Suburb
Sarah has given me the most beautiful garden. She listened to my ideas and stretched them even further. I could never have got here without her. Her landscaping was inspired and her planting has provided me with a year round delight. I would thoroughly recommend her.
Lizzie, London N8
Sarah of Hampstead Garden Design was a delight to work with, she designed a wonderful patio, front driveway and garden planting scheme for us. Sarah understood our brief completely and we are delighted with the finished results. We consider our garden to be another room in our house and are deriving so much pleasure from it. We would definitely recommend Hampstead Garden Design.
Michelle, Mill Hill
We moved in 2014 to a house with smaller and very unattractive gardens, front and back. We didn’t want to wait for years of our own trial and error improving them. A friend recommended Sarah and using her to design and plant our new gardens has been a real pleasure. She listened to our wants and dislikes, surveyed the new gardens carefully to take account of changes of level, supplied plans we could understand, noted our responses to her proposals, adapted them to what we wanted and oversaw the complete and imaginative redesign and planting of the new gardens.
The whole planting scheme was attractive and interesting and within our budget. Even in the first summer (2015) the result was just what we wanted and we’re confident it will get better and better as the gardens mature. We thought her fees were reasonable and she stuck to the figure she had quoted – no hidden surprises. Her communications with us were first rate.
Thank you Sarah!
Robert and Lynette, North Finchley
We were recommended to Sarah by our architect and found her excellent in every way. It was great to have the garden designed so beautifully and it has greatly enhanced our home. All went very smoothly and it was a pleasure to deal with her.
David and Helen, Hampstead Garden Suburb
From the outset, Sarah was a great listener and transferred my vision to a set of plans that my builders found easy to follow. She worked hard to source products that matched my requirements and always went the extra mile to deliver an excellent and cost effective service. Sarah was a pleasure to work with and I am happy to recommend her work.
Amanda, Golders Green
Sarah understood exactly how I wanted to transform my garden and the result is beautiful and easy to maintain. She is very efficient and extremely pleasant to work with.