Garden styles for Modern housesAlison Marsden
You do not have to live in an architectural award winning house, or even a new build to enjoy ultra-modern architecture. Many older houses are extended to create an open plan living space with bi-fold doors to the garden. This effectively means creating a garden alongside a 21st Century sleek metal and glass façade where previously you were looking at 1930s brick for example. Your need for space to relax, entertain, play and grow plants remains the same but you will certainly want your garden to complement the house. The key questions are: Do you have to transform your garden into an equally sleek, contemporary installation? And what exactly makes Chelsea Show Gardens look so ‘new’ and stylish, if that is the look you hanker for?
The first answer is “No” you do not have to match garden to house but you have a much more pleasing result if there is a visual link between the two. You want a sense that they belong together and that whatever you create it looks as if you meant it. The answer to the second question is that those show gardens reflect contemporary architecture with straight, clean lines, unfussy materials and simple colour schemes, contrasting light and dark.
Happily there are simple ways to update a traditional garden for a modern look without necessarily starting from scratch. For example, a contemporary take on a cottage garden might see exuberant colourful planting within strong rectangular shapes and smooth surfaces. Alternatively migrate your planting to a limited, even monochrome palette such as green and white within the existing layout. Both choices will pick up on key elements of modern design to complement a modern building.
Updating your garden after moving house or a major building project may seem like a daunting prospect but the jackpot is a beautiful and usable outdoor space to match. Use pictures of contemporary gardens, permanent or temporary, local or abroad, to inspire you. Choose a ‘look’ and that will guide your decisions on shapes, colours and textures from paving and fences to plants. Just make sure that you select plants suitable for your location if your inspiration is a picture of a garden in California!
Happy Gardening from Alison
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