Those who love modern design often prefer a modern landscape when it comes to their outdoor spaces. While the sleek, contemporary look of a well-planned yard may seem unattainable, the use of native plants can make it surprisingly easy to maintain a yard that’s every bit as interesting as the inside of your home! It’s always helpful to consult an expert when it comes to choosing the best plants for your space, but the tips featured in today’s post will get the ball rolling as you plan a strategy for your yard.
If you’re drawn to plants that are a bit trickier to maintain than native greenery, you can always place them in planters to cultivate a few of them at a time or switch them out with the changing seasons as needed. Keep reading for modern landscaping tips and some stunning outdoor vignettes that are sure to inspire you…
*Photos by Kate Simmons for Decoist
There’s Power in Numbers
If you live in an area where it’s not practical to cultivate a lush, green lawn, you may be interested in creating a more drought-tolerant landscape by using native plants that don’t require much water. Xeriscaping is becoming increasingly popular, and even if you’re not looking to add large amounts of gravel to your yard, you can create an abundant look by grouping plants into clusters. After all, there’s power in numbers!
Whether you saturate an area with a large number of the same plant or you introduce some variety by incorporating a couple of different types of native plants, you can get a modern look by planting greenery in rows or tidy groups.
When “like” plants are placed together and more than one selection is involved, you can achieve eye-catching contrast. Or you can make a statement by including one different plant that stands out in the pack (scroll to the top of the post to see a lone blue agave plant take center stage in a sea of Mexican feather grass).
Even when you group “like” plants, sometimes less is more. The neatly spaced succulents below are striking in their form, and the fact that they are separated by a blanket of basalt gravel makes them all the more prominent:
Create a Base of Greenery
Just as many modern landscaping techniques involve using gravel as a base, the use of greenery as a base can add interest and a sense of abundance. For example, planting rosemary around the base of a tree creates a green “stage” and makes the tree’s setting all the more special. Above and below, we see rosemary at the base of a crape myrtle tree. The tree’s pink blossoms are extra vibrant against the greenery that surrounds them.
You can take this same concept and apply it to smaller additions around your yard, such as greenery in planters. For example, moss beautifully offsets the green succulent in the next featured planter:
Incorporate Rocky Features
Don’t forget about the big impact that can be made with rocky features such as large stones. If you’re lucky enough to have them naturally occurring in your yard, definitely use them to your advantage. If not, you can get help from your local landscaping company. Don’t attempt to move hefty boulders and rocks on your own. Some even require a crane when it comes to installation, so making a thoughtful decision on their placement is key.
Add Interest with Planters
Looking to add more than native greenery to your modern yard? Planters are the perfect way to experiment with growing a range of plants in a smaller setting. Interested in growing plants that won’t survive the winter in your climate? Put them in a planter that you can move inside during the coldest months of the year. Not sure you’re up for planting an assortment of higher-maintenance plants in the ground? Try them out in a pot or planter!
Succulents are an ever-popular planter choice, and many modern design lovers create succulent gardens and plantscapes that feature a range of plants in different colors and forms.
Reserving a couple of planters for seasonal flowers will give you a spot for an ever-evolving garden of blooms. Don’t be afraid to get inspiration from commercial landscaping. Office buildings and outdoor shopping centers are just two of many locations that often showcase large planters filled with flowers. Note the different color combinations, and snap photos of your favorites so you can take them to your local nursery to find out more about the plants.
Planters can help you fill in gaps as you put the finishing touches on your modern landscaping. Need to add height to a section of your yard? Try a tall planter. Looking to create some privacy in a seating area? Create a screen with a row of planters filled with abundant greenery. The possibilities are endless!
While summer isn’t always the best time to put new plants in the ground, it’s a great time to gather inspiration for your modern landscape. Have fun observing, making big changes if you can, or adding little clusters of greenery by incorporating planters. Happy gardening!