Modern Atlanta Landscape Design

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Are more modern elements appearing inside your home? Accessories with cleaner lines, fabrics in bolder colors, overall just a bit more of a contemporary edge? 

Then you might want to consider playing with new landscaping techniques. Experiment with flowerbeds and hedging that are a little more dramatic, a little less traditional.  And if you have a modern exterior to your home, you definitely should try to design in this “direction”. Traditional gardens can look fussy and quaint against a more modern exterior.  

So maybe it is time to update your outdoors to better reflect your modern tastes.

The question is…how do you make that happen? Easy. With a little research, simple planning and some assistance from a professional landscaper, you could create the modern yard of your dreams.  

Modern Defined

So what, exactly, is modern landscaping?  According to Nicholas Harrell, Landscape Architect for CORE Landscape Group, “Creating bold geometric designs and patterns is the defining feature of modern landscaping. These themes can be present as water features, motor courts, walkways, landscape beds, etc.”

The clean lines, geometric influences and airy spaces that are prominent in modern landscapes may or may not be complemented with foliage.  Other landscaping tools like topiaries and water and fire features can further enhance a modern landscape. As with all landscapes, lighting can play a major role in modern landscaping. 

To Harrell, “Modern landscape design falls into three main categories: California/Texas Modern, New England Modern and European Modern.  We have favorites in all of these categories and each style has its own merit. Often the site, home design or client will steer the design towards one of these styles. A few of our favorite designers (across the country) include Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects, Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects and Heuttl Landscape Architects.”
Tip: Googling the works of these experts is a great way to get a good handle on what modern landscape design is, while getting inspiration for your own backyard. 

Go With the Flow

Creating a modern landscape that incorporates continuity of design from inside your home to your outdoor entertaining spaces and into the yard might feel overwhelming. However, there actually are some very simple ways to tie every aspect of your home design together. Just as you have interior furnishings with clean lines, cool metals and comfortable cushions, so too should your outdoor furniture embody these traits.   And remember – going modern does not mean that your outdoor décor must feel cold and sterile “One common misconception is that modern design is stark or uninviting.” Says Harrell. “This can certainly be the case if taken to the extreme, but often the goal of modern landscaping is to create a clean and simple landscape to show off the house and property. 

The challenge with modern design in Atlanta is that landscape design in this area is overwhelmingly traditional, so often we’re taking a traditional material such as bluestone or boxwoods and trying to use it in a structured or unique way. By taking tried and true traditional details and adding a modern touch, we try to create a version of ‘Southern Modern’ that is both inviting and compliments the modern architecture.”  

When embarking on a modern landscape, it’s crucial that you research and determine what is feasible within your budget - prior to even breaking ground. If you are planning to do part of the job yourself, you can keep costs down and reduce the workload working with the organic material yourself rather than trying to DIY hardscape elements. (Leaving those more difficult projects to the pros can save him time and money.) 

So how much is “going modern” going to cost? Is it more or less pricey than traditional landscaping? “Due to the simplicity of the modern landscape design”, says Harrell, “it can be comparable to traditionally designed (landscapes).” But workmanship and skill are still at the heart of all great landscaping, reminds Harrell, and modern is no exception. 

“An important component of modern design is honesty in the treatment of materials. So if you design a large beam for a wood bench or a concrete retaining wall, the finished product is what really shows. Although the designs are often simple, they take a certain amount of skill to be properly executed.”

Finally, keep in mind maintenance when choosing a modern landscape. Sleek concrete retaining walls won’t require much TLC but a topiary feature or two could have you working in the yard more often then you planned.  

But don’t let that stop you from playing around with modern elements in your garden and yard. Modern landscaping is not just for homes built of soaring glass and gleaming metal. “Modern landscape design practices can certainly be applied to traditional homes. And—if done correctly—it will help your house stand out from the other traditionals in the area.”  

Sources: Nicholas Harrell, Landscape Architect  CORE Landscape Group

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