Modern concrete squares with Mexican beach pebbles in Temecula McCabe's Landscape Construction

Last week, we blogged about the lush, overflowing abundance of Victorian landscapes. If that style seems too ornate or just somehow “too much” for you, perhaps a modern landscape is more your style.

Contrary to what you might think, a modern landscape is not necessarily all about straight lines or minimalism. It doesn’t mean you can’t get creative, or utilize unique elements. The difference is how you incorporate those elements.

Hardscape. Typically, a modern landscape design begins with hardscape spaces. This is good news for those of you who already have large patios or other hardscape areas, or who want to switch over to a less-grass, lower-maintenance landscape. All other elements are incorporated as a complement to those hardscape areas.

It is important to remember that hardscape materials can, and usually should, be varied. Modern design is not about throwing down some plain concrete and walking away! Variations between several different materials can add a subtle richness to the overall design. The inclusion of black, smooth Mexican river rock in grey concrete spaces can create a powerful contrast.

Wood. Wood elements make a nice contrast to hardscape areas so that the overall concept does not come off as “cold”. Integrate wood touches where you can. Natural wood grains (even when stained) are important to keep the space feeling warm.

Add a water or fire feature. A fountain and/or fire pit can make a nice addition to hardscape and wood. The inclusion of natural elements enhances the design and increases the utility of the space.

Clean lines. It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that a modern landscape will include clean lines. Keep this in mind when choosing plants, so that you can select those that are easily controlled and kept “in line.” A controlled, low hedge makes a great border for your overall concept, or you might wish to include plant elements that are tall, narrow, and not overly branching. Species that are more wildly branching and loose can look out of place.

Grass can be ornamental. Due to the use of extensive hardscape, modern landscapes tend not to include overly large and time-consuming lawns. But grass can be used as an ornamental accent. Taller, more lush varieties soften hard edges and ease the transition from one “hard” element to another.

These are just some of the basic principles of modern landscape design. For more information, or to view various elements in person, give us a call. We can help you decide if a modern landscape design is the right choice for your aesthetic senses and needs.

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