When I started garden design was moving from the over-abundance of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Remember those huge sleeved dresses, glittery fabrics and full blown heads of hair – a style also reflected in excessive interior and exterior décor.
Through the late 90’s though, we moved into the Zen of clutter-less, streamlined white pristineness and our gardens reflected order and neatness. We moved back to the structure of modern formality with green hedges and light.
But even then my inner city clients were looking for a softness to counteract hard living in inner city Sydney. Our gardens showed natural finishes and touches of flowers and were beautiful calming spaces within which to escape. But they were also supremely ordered spaces within which to live.
Today, some of the elements I dealt with in inner city gardens are the backbone of contemporary garden design.
Demands of our busy lifestyles drive the way we want to use our outdoor spaces.
And so it is not surprising that fashion is now as important outdoors as it is in your closet.
And it is not surprising we are increasingly using the principles of art and design to create gardens we love to escape to.
This beautiful display of massed pelargoniums brings a vibrant colorful touch to an otherwise monochrome garden. Shown in the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in 2014, this design, ‘The Gardeners’ Library’ by Vivid Design, uses huge rectangular beds which reflect the shape of the sleek and shiny black water feature to keep the design bones and then adds texture and bold color to soften the space. Elegant and stylish.
But not all contemporary design is so bold.
As you go through the pages of the book you will see how other planting schemes can be used to soften structured white spaces.
And yes, it is the planting which is so important today. Planting adds softness, texture, color, scent, and blossom and brings health, serenity and beauty to our frazzled city lives.
What We Are Looking For
We live small
We live in small apartments or townhouses with very little outdoor space. Modern homes are big and the gardens are tiny. It goes without saying outdoor spaces throughout the world are becoming smaller
We need to escape into calm and bliss
Added to this though, our lives are becoming busier, working days are longer; it’s becoming more and more difficult to escape the trials of life.
So we look for a haven at home. Somewhere to escape – a blissful, calm retreat.
We want everything to be clean, healthy and to look after our environment
The move toward a clean lifestyle, eating clean, fresh food, exercise, stress-free relaxation has reached new heights. We all want to grow vegetables, even if it is just a bowl of herbs to add to the salad. And we all want to make space for the local wildlife and to make sure our garden practices do not pollute or damage the environment.
We want the garden to do everything
And that tiny outdoor space is asked to meet all our outdoor living desires. A home for the dog, space for the kids, somewhere to sit and chill, entertain family and friends, another room to add to the house…
We want it easy
And above all, we look for a garden we can look after without adding to the stresses of our already stressed out lives. Low maintenance gardens are an absolute must…
And we want it to look great – it’s fashion after all…
And, to make this more difficult to achieve, contemporary garden style is asking us to create beautiful softer spaces, filled with apparently difficult to look after shrubs and flowers and natural finishes. So the big question is – how can we get the look and not the work?