Designing a contemporary garden with warmth

Taken to its extreme, the sleek materials and minimalist approach of modern landscaping can sometimes seem cold or uninviting. Yet modern design’s emphasis on crafting an organized space and respecting unadorned materials has the potential to create a setting which feels not only friendly and inviting, but also personalized and artful.

Opt for a Natural, Loose Planting Style

Neatly organized lines of stiff, sculptural plants are the norm in many contemporary landscapes, as though the architect wanted to impose the minimalist structure of the building on the exterior spaces. Yet this type of planting style seems to utterly reject any relationship with the natural world. Miller shares a friendlier approach. “There’s no reason to feel stuck with rigid, architectural plants,” he says. “When your plantings have a loose, alive appearance, they bring a sense of playfulness, liveliness, and warmth.”