Modern Garden Ideas and Designs
Chris Corbett Design
Neil Michael - Axiom Photography
Kate Eyre Garden Design
Seed Studio Landscape Design
photo by Seed Studio, editing by TR PhotoStudio
This year we worked alongside Dobbies at RHS Chelsea Flower Show to create a beautiful outdoor space. Our Modern glass greenhouses help to compliment the arrangement of any garden and comes in a range of different sizes.
Exterior Worlds Landscaping & Design
A local Houston art collector hired us to create a low maintenance, sophisticated, contemporary landscape design. She wanted her property to compliment her eclectic taste in architecture, outdoor sculpture, and modern art. Her house was built with a minimalist approach to decoration, emphasizing right angles and windows instead of architectural keynotes. The west wing of the house was only one story, while the east wing was two-story. The windows in both wings were larger than usual, so that visitors could see her art collection from the home’s exterior. Near one of the large rear windows, there was an abstract metal sculpture designed in the form of a spiral. When she initially contacted us, the surrounding property had only a few trees and indigenous grass as vegetation. This was actually a good beginning point with us, because it allowed us to develop a contemporary landscape design that featured a very linear, crisp look supportive of the home and its contents. We began by planting a garden around the large contemporary sculpture near the window. Landscape designers planted horsetail reed under windows, along the sides of the home, and around the corners. This vegetation is very resilient and hardy, and requires little trimming, weeding, or mulching. This helped unite the diverse elements of sculpture, contemporary architecture, and landscape design into a more fluid harmony that preserved the proportions of each unique element, but eliminated any tendency for the elements to clash with one another. We then added two stonework designs to the landscape surrounding the contemporary art collection and home. The first was a linear walkway we build from concrete pads purchased through a retail vendor as a cost-saving benefit to our client. We created this walkway to follow the perimeter of the home so that visitors could walk around the entire property and admire the outdoor sculptures and the collections of modern art visible through the windows. This was especially enjoyable at night, when the entire home was brightly lit from within. To add a touch of tranquility and quite repose to the stark right angles of the home and surrounding contemporary landscape, we designed a special seating area toward the northwest corner of the property. We wanted to create a sense of contemplation in this area, so we departed from the linear and angular designs of the surrounding landscape and established a theme of circular geometry. We laid down gravel as ground cover, then placed large, circular pads arranged like giant stepping stones that led up to a stone patio filled with chairs. The shape of the granite pads and the contours of the graveled area further complimented the spirals and turns in the outdoor metal sculpture, and balanced the entire contemporary landscape design with proportional geometric forms of lines, angles, and curves. This particular contemporary landscape design also has a sense of movement attached to it. All stonework leads to a destination of some sort. The linear pathway provides a guided tour around the home, garden, and modern art collection. The granite pathway stones create movement toward separate space where the entire experience of art, vegetation, and architecture can be viewed and experienced as a unity. Contemporary landscaping designs like create form out of feeling by using basic geometric forms and variations of forms. Sometimes very stark forms are used to create a sense of absolutism or contrast. At other times, forms are blended, or even distorted to suggest a sense of complex emotion, or a sense of multi-dimensional reality. The exact nature of the design is always highly subjective, and developed on a case-by-case basis with the client.
Gardens by Gabriel, Inc.
Golden Goddess bamboo and Mexican weeping bamboo peek through cattle panel fencing and garden wall panels. Photo by Gabriel Frank
David Thorne Landscape Architect
Marion Brenner Photography
BRADANINI & ASSOCIATES
POTS & HORIZONTAL BOARD FENCE, BRADANINI
The backyard layout is centered around the swimming pool, which is large enough to swim a few laps or for the extended family to splash around. Travertine stone coping on three sides of the pool with a knife-edge on the side facing the lake gives a clear view of the water when lounging in the pool.
The Garden Route Company
An Eichler remodel with a steep hillside garden. This project pushed the limits of creating flat space where there was none! The angular architecture of the garden is balanced with bold and textural free form plantings. Color, texture and juxtaposed angles.
GEL: Griffin Enright Landscape
An axis through the hillside layers with korean grass steps above.
Exterior Worlds Landscaping & Design
The problem this Memorial-Houston homeowner faced was that her sumptuous contemporary home, an austere series of interconnected cubes of various sizes constructed from white stucco, black steel and glass, did not have the proper landscaping frame. It was out of scale. Imagine Robert Motherwell's "Black on White" painting without the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston's generous expanse of white walls surrounding it. It would still be magnificent but somehow...off. Intuitively, the homeowner realized this issue and started interviewing landscape designers. After talking to about 15 different designers, she finally went with one, only to be disappointed with the results. From the across-the-street neighbor, she was then introduced to Exterior Worlds and she hired us to correct the newly-created problems and more fully realize her hopes for the grounds. "It's not unusual for us to come in and deal with a mess. Sometimes a homeowner gets overwhelmed with managing everything. Other times it is like this project where the design misses the mark. Regardless, it is really important to listen for what a prospect or client means and not just what they say," says Jeff Halper, owner of Exterior Worlds. Since the sheer size of the house is so dominating, Exterior Worlds' overall job was to bring the garden up to scale to match the house. Likewise, it was important to stretch the house into the landscape, thereby softening some of its severity. The concept we devised entailed creating an interplay between the landscape and the house by astute placement of the black-and-white colors of the house into the yard using different materials and textures. Strategic plantings of greenery increased the interest, density, height and function of the design. First we installed a pathway of crushed white marble around the perimeter of the house, the white of the path in homage to the house’s white facade. At various intervals, 3/8-inch steel-plated metal strips, painted black to echo the bones of the house, were embedded and crisscrossed in the pathway to turn it into a loose maze. Along this metal bunting, we planted succulents whose other-worldly shapes and mild coloration juxtaposed nicely against the hard-edged steel. These plantings included Gulf Coast muhly, a native grass that produces a pink-purple plume when it blooms in the fall. A side benefit to the use of these plants is that they are low maintenance and hardy in Houston’s summertime heat. Next we brought in trees for scale. Without them, the impressive architecture becomes imposing. We placed them along the front at either corner of the house. For the left side, we found a multi-trunk live oak in a field, transported it to the property and placed it in a custom-made square of the crushed marble at a slight distance from the house. On the right side where the house makes a 90-degree alcove, we planted a mature mesquite tree. To finish off the front entry, we fashioned the black steel into large squares and planted grass to create islands of green, or giant lawn stepping pads. We echoed this look in the back off the master suite by turning concrete pads of black-stained concrete into stepping pads. We kept the foundational plantings of Japanese yews which add green, earthy mass, something the stark architecture needs for further balance. We contoured Japanese boxwoods into small spheres to enhance the play between shapes and textures. In the large, white planters at the front entrance, we repeated the plantings of succulents and Gulf Coast muhly to reinforce symmetry. Then we built an additional planter in the back out of the black metal, filled it with the crushed white marble and planted a Texas vitex, another hardy choice that adds a touch of color with its purple blooms. To finish off the landscaping, we needed to address the ravine behind the house. We built a retaining wall to contain erosion. Aesthetically, we crafted it so that the wall has a sharp upper edge, a modern motif right where the landscape meets the land.
Kimberly Mercurio Landscape Architecture
The board formed concrete wall, Ipe deck, stairs and privacy fence provide a secluded area for the cedar spa. New York bluestone is used at the bottom of the steps.
AquaTerra Outdoors was hired to design and install the entire landscape, hardscape and pool for this modern home. Features include Ipe wood deck, river rock details, LED lighting in the pool, limestone decks, water feature wall with custom Bobe water scuppers and more! Photography: Daniel Driensky
Don Tankersley & Co.
Photo by Jeremy Bitterman