How Modern Garden Design Allows You More Leisure Time

How Modern Garden Design Allows You More Leisure Time

Fed up with gardening but still want to surround your home with a beautiful garden? In this article we’re looking at how modern garden design allows you more leisure time.

Garden design has seen many trends through the ages. From formal parterres to cottage gardens. Modern garden design take the best bits of gardens through the ages and combines them to create stylish, yet low maintenance gardens.

Here’s what modern garden design can do for you

What to expect from a modern garden design

Modern garden design is all about an uncluttered approach to the garden. There are no hard and fast rules – design must, of course, suit the clients’ property and their personal style, but in general, you can expect modern garden design to include

  • Good use of shape and form to define areas within the garden
  • All-weather surfaces so that the garden can be used all year round
  • Room for relaxing, cooking, and eating al fresco
  • Privacy
  • Longevity… a designed garden should adapt as its owner’s lifestyle changes
  • Easy management – maintenance levels should suit the owner’s enthusiasm for gardening
  • A delight for all 5 senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and scent


Shape and form in modern garden design

3d garden design for visualisation

Modern garden design makes the best use of the space available, compliments the property, and enhances lifestyles


Whether you prefer a formal garden layout with precise geometric shapes, or a more informal, flowing garden, shape and form should be well defined. Paths, patios, lawns, and flower beds are delineated with contrasting colours and textures. At Tapestry Design Studios we recommend using edging materials. Perhaps a line of bricks or stone setts, a nice timber sleeper, or a discreet but effective metal edging detail.

It’s important that the garden is 3D – include some strong upright structures and/or trees to lead the eye up to the sky. Depending on the overall style of the property, you might choose sturdy timber structures (green oak is great for a traditional property) or a contemporary pergola made from powder-coated steel.

Create a journey

Modern gardens all have 3 things. A starting point, a destination, and a journey between them.  Two out of the three are there to tempt you out of the house and into the room “outdoors”. It’s OK to have more than one destination and more than one journey – in fact, I positively encourage it.

Think about a secluded seating area that’s away from the house, a pretty storage shed, a water feature, a veggie garden – there are lots of choices for “destinations”. Now create paths between them. Next, use plants, lights, and/or art to make your journey more pleasurable.

Privacy in modern garden design

Does your garden feel a little overlooked? And does that put you off spending time out of doors? You’re not alone! Modern garden design uses lots of little tricks to help make your private space feel – well – more private.

Trees. Trees are great at hiding you from the neighbours and vice-versa.  I’m a fan of silver birch trees. They have tall slim trunks that don’t take up valuable “floor” space. Plus their wonderful feathery foliage won’t cast heavy shade.

Another option – and a very attractive one – is a row of pleached trees. It looks a bit like a hedge on stilts. Effectively this will lift the height of your fence without making your garden feel like a prison yard.

small back garden with cottage garden planting, an arbour and stepping stones through the lawn

This small urban back garden uses several “tricks of the trade” to create a feeling of privacy and seclusion

A pergola or an arbour can make a nice secluded space. Or why not think about using the very corners of your garden. These tend to be “blind spots” for neighbours’ windows. Plus, if you can’t see them, it feels as though they can’t see you.

The colour palette for a modern garden

Colour is subjective, we all of us have our favourites (mine is blue) and so the hues and tones in your garden should be something that makes your heart sing.

The human brain is constantly analysing the space around it. Your body sends 11 million bits per second to the brain for processing, and 10 million of those come from the eyes. Yet the conscious mind seems to be able to process only 50 bits per second. So the more information your eyes send to your brain, the more energy your need to process it. This is why we feel most relaxed in uncluttered spaces with a limited colour palette. The beach for example, or a lovely green woodland.

Interior design at the moment is all about neutral tones with carefully-placed pops of a focus colour. Modern garden design mirrors this.  For the hard landscaping features – the patios, the paths, and the permanent structures, I would recommend sticking with muted colours. Grey limestone, buff sandstone, or perhaps one of the many beautiful porcelain pavers available today.

Having said that – strong charcoal greys and blacks provide a strong contrast to plants and accessories without being harsh on the eye.

Use less permanent features to introduce colour – furniture, plants, painted finishes – these can all be refreshed if your tastes change.

Don’t forget to think about colours for your boundaries.  Green hedges will to “blur” the edges of your garden and help it blend into the surrounding countryside. Painting a timber fence in a restful shade of sage green or slate blue will make it appear less severe.


Never forget the importance of texture in a garden. It offers so many opportunities. Contrasting textures can break up a large expanse of hard landscaping without changing colours. It can make an area more inviting – eg a velvety lawn or soft cushions in the seating area. Texture can also be used alongside shape to create wonderful shadows and lighting effects. It’s fun to experiment with different landscaping materials and once you start researching the possibilities you’ll see that they are endless.

Best plants for a modern garden


tall grass garden screen

Don’t overlook the role of ornamental grasses in modern garden design.  Grasses in general love the UK climate which means that they are very easy to grow.
These beauties offer interest all year round with colour, movement, and an aspect of “hide and reveal”.

In the not so distant past, there was a trend towards garden design without plants. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it and I’m glad that we’ve all moved on.

Plants are an essential part of garden design. They’re crucial for wellbeing and for the health of the planet. Modern garden design specifies plants that will be sustainable in the garden. That means that they will be easy to manage and long-lived as well as looking gorgeous.

When you are choosing the best plants for your garden, don’t rely on looks alone. Get to know what conditions the plant needs to thrive. Will it want moist soil or dry? Sunshine or shade? How big will it eventually grow? And how long will it take to reach that size? Does it need regular pruning? Special feed? Daily deadheading? Protection from frost?

There’s one rule for choosing plants for a modern garden.  Consider carefully whether you will be able to look after the plant BEFORE you think about how it will look in your plot.  Better still – contact a garden designer and ask them to create a planting plan for you.  It will save you lots of head-scratching and will ensure that you don’t need to keep buying new plants to replace the ones that have perished.

How does modern garden design free up your leisure time?

When your garden has been professionally designed and built it will make a huge change to your lifestyle. All of a sudden, those tiresome chores will disappear. Hate mowing the lawn? Your new garden can be designed without grass. Tired of mopping muddy floors – the surfaces in your new garden will help keep your feet dry. Averse to weeding and watering – choosing the right plants and installing an irrigation system will free up your summer evenings.

There’s another bonus to modern garden design that many of our clients have reported. Somehow, your beautiful garden will change your attitude to life. Expect to feel more comfortable spending time at home, relaxing. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself gravitating to the garden for your coffee breaks, moving around just a little bit more, or taking more of an interest in plants and wildlife.


Take a look at the garden design packages available from Tapestry Design Studios

Contact us to discuss a new design for your garden


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