Be bold with a modernist landscape

Phantom Screens / August 3, 2016

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Embrace a bold modern design in your outdoor living spaces. Modern or contemporary design is focused on clean lines and geometric shapes that can augment or contrast plant forms. Creating a modernist landscape starts with the careful consideration of your house and its relationship to the surrounding land.

Outside in

Take a good look at your home’s elevation. The dominant lines of your house’s exterior will determine how your landscaping is set up. Notice any opportunities to extend or mirror the prominent horizontal, vertical or diagonal shapes in your home’s structure. For example, if the rearview of your house is very boxy, reflect the look in the patio and plant beds by constructing them in a straight manner. Conversely, one can contrast a boxy exterior by including elements such as acute triangular shapes or organic curves. Contrasts are nice because they break up what would be an otherwise monotonous look.

Inside out

Harmonizing your landscape design with the interior of your house is as equally important as working from the outside in. What kinds of views do you have from your windows? Are there any large openings or picture windows of which you can take advantage? You want your yard to look equally good from your home as your home does from the yard.

In addition to visual considerations, you should address practical concerns, such as access points. Exterior doors provide opportunities to integrate the outdoor space with the indoor more seamlessly. Sliding doors or French doors provide a great spot for a patio or deck as well as provide nice views of the property. And by having retractable door screens from Phantom installed, you will be able to have a seamless passage between your indoor and outdoor living area.


There are many types of materials that have become hallmarks in modernist landscaping. Gravel, for instance, is often used in lieu of grass and mulch may act as a ground covering. A tiny urban yard can benefit from the clean look of small stones, as opposed to difficult-to-maintain grass. Those who are not willing to give up the feel of fresh grass under their feet can break their landscaping into well-defined areas. Modernist landscaping often includes a sharply delineated patch of grass in the yard.

Modernist architecture is built on a grid structure. That is, the arrangements of different elements are based on a plot of intersecting perpendicular lines. As a result, many homeowners use rectilinear pavers to create pathways and patios. Playing with the grid construct is a fun way to add a dynamic touch to your landscape. Consider different-sized pavers or a deconstructed (or broken up) grid structure. Stretching the limits of the design offers an opportunity for limitless creativity.

Metal and glass have become staple materials in modernist design. Bold sculptural elements are great ways to incorporate them into your landscape. Water features and fireplaces are also nice opportunities to utilize sheet metal.

Planning it all out

One of the best ways to plan out how you will design your landscape is to take a picture of the space you are designing, print it out and then cut out and paste images directly onto it. Browse the Internet as well as architectural and home-living magazines for pictures of elements you find interesting and attractive. Building a collage of all these design inspirations will help you get a sense of what your landscaping can look like.

Softening it up

If modernist landscaping seems too rigid and harsh for you, there are many ways of softening it up. Using plants is one of the easiest ways to add a natural touch to industrial modernist elements. The natural forms of free-flowing plants can balance even the strictest of rectilinear architecture. Another option is to choose furniture that contrasts its modernist surroundings. Soft couches and chairs will add a warmth to a modernist setting.