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3 modern landscape architecture elements your yard needs

Modern landscape is gaining more and more attention these days thanks to a resurgence of the “less is more” approach to exterior design and decor. But what elements of this exterior design style will fit well in your yard? We’ve broken down what we love about modern landscape architecture so you can pick and choose what’s best for your yard.

modern landscaped homeSleek lines and low upkeep

Modern landscaping ideas involve plants and plant beds, but definitely no riotous displays of bright reds, green, or yellow flowers or vegetables. This is great for folks who aren’t a fan of gardening, since these minimalistic gardening styles don’t lend themselves to too much upkeep.

This goes for walkways and paths too! While concrete hardscaping (in the form of benches, planters, and concrete paths) are the hallmarks of modern landscaping, there are some climates where too much moisture can cause constant cracking and repairs to slabs and pathways. If that is the case, use textured materials to mark off specific areas. White pebbles, pea gravel, lava rock, and larger rocks can create areas of interest that don’t require upkeep.

Interlocking composite pavers are a great way to mark off areas, and these can be used no matter what kind of climate you are in. Be aware that they absorb and hold heat, so you will need footwear or outdoor rugs if it’s an area just off the house that you will use for entertaining.

landscaped house front

Plants and trees

So you want to add some green to your front or backyard while still maintaining that modern and minimal aesthetic? You might be wondering what types of plants to choose. The answer depends entirely on what type of climate you live in.

Moderate to temperate climates

Plants for moderate to temperate climates include:

  • Yucca
  • Cuana
  • Alocasia
  • Red hot poker
  • Agapanthus
  • New Zealand flax
  • Aeonium
  • Sedium
  • Swiss cheese plant
  • Aucuba
  • Fascia
  • Lilyturf

Trees include:

  • Crape myrtle
  • Japanese pine
  • Mountain laurel
  • Bamboo
  • Japanese maples
  • Agave
  • Japanese boxwood
  • Cast-iron plant
  • Berkeley sedge
  • Foxtail fern

Always consult a local garden center before spending your savings on plants and trees. Even if a plant is on this list above, there could be other elements that impact your plants’ ability to thrive.

Arid climates

Dry climates with water issues can certainly take advantage of modern landscape trends, and rock gardens are no stranger to trends. Again, you can use textures to designate certain spaces. Use large squares of artificial turf or neutral outdoor rugs to mark off spaces for entertaining or outdoor kitchens, and don’t forget to include shade elements.

Use drought-tolerant and tropical plants as organic elements. Plants that would do well include:

  • Golden barrel cactus
  • Mexican feather grass
  • Bottlebrush
  • Aloe
  • Flaming Katy

modern landscaped backyardElevated surfaces

Since space in your outdoor entertaining spaces is limited, elevated deck and seating spaces are a great way to add visual interest to a space and create an illusion of a lot of square footage. Installing outdoor lighting or stringing up fairy lights around a seating area is also a necessity — safety is important and the aesthetics can’t be beat either.

Whether you choose to add plant beds to your front yard, plant a beautiful tree out back, or overhaul your entire yard, modern landscape architecture is a fantastic way to bring a touch of class and elegance to your outdoor areas. We can’t wait to see what you create!

Editors' Recommendations

Kathleen Ostrander
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kathleen has worked for United Press International and she's written about everything from style to pets for newspapers…
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