How to Create a Contemporary Garden

Whether your garden is small and cozy or stretches off towards the horizon, the clean, crisp designs and intelligent use of space that comes with a contemporary garden can transform your outdoor space.

Contemporary gardens have an immediately recognisable style, and to some might come across as cold and uninviting, but with proper planning a contemporary garden can be peaceful, attractive and dynamic. We’ve put together this guide to contemporary gardens, to give you a hand if you’re thinking about a redesign but not sure where to start.

Landscaping

One of the key features of the contemporary garden design is implementation of landscaping features. Typical elements include things like raised beds, decking, paving and stylised gravel and stones. The important thing to remember is that a well designed contemporary garden can mix all of these elements in a unique way, creating strong, striking borders and impactful blends. Experiment with contrasting surfaces and textures between neat patches of lawn or turf to create unique zones and patterns.

Plants

When planning what plants should go into your contemporary garden and where they should be planted, it’s good to always think about structure and how they will interact and impact the design of the other features of your garden. If you decide on a lot of corners and straight lines, patches of perennials and hardy, low maintenance shrubs can help soften edges that may otherwise come across as sterile and cold.

As with the design of the garden overall, choose plants that need very little attention. Evergreens are a good choice, as they will remain attractive and lively throughout the year, so your garden doesn’t end up looking too decadent in the winter.

Raised beds make for ideal borders and can bring a lot of variety to the edges of your garden. Raised beds can form a key design of the aesthetic of a contemporary garden, and come in many varieties. Wooden blocks, concrete blocks and coloured stone all have their place, and using repeated patterns of plants in raised beds at intervals around your garden will bring a sense of uniformity and structure while enhancing its modern, clean appeal.

You can also play with verticality, if you’re able, to add another dimension to the garden. Darker greens on walls complement lighter greens further in and soften up borders while providing a soothing backdrop to colourful bushes and plants either on the ground or in raised beds.

The tall, dramatic look of bamboo is worth considering – especially black bamboo – and is perfect for a repeated pattern that isn’t too distracting and contextualises the garden in a unique way. Bamboo is a perfect backdrop for seating areas and will maintain its striking appeal all year round with very little maintenance involved.

Garden structures

Installing a garden structure is a great way to utilise space in the garden and create a focal point where you can entertain guests or relax in your surroundings. Maintaining the theme of your garden is important so having a garden structure designed to your own specifications will ensure that this is achieved.

A pergola is perfect for a contemporary design, providing shelter for a seating area, height and acting as a support for vines and climbers, allowing you to do interesting, creative things with your plants. A gazebo is also a good choice, especially if custom designed to fit naturally into the theme of your garden. We provide bespoke wooden gazebos and pergolas, perfect for gardens of any size and design.

Lighting

Lighting can help define your contemporary garden and is a linchpin in its overall design and appeal. A popular choice is decking lights – especially useful on steps – and LED bollards to create attractive ambient lighting. Cool coloured lighting under the surface of water features will definitely be an attractive design choice, especially if it’s in the background or isolated from other light sources. The placement of your lighting is critical, so feel free to experiment to see how much – or how little – your garden actually needs to look as attractive as possible.