This is the fourth in a series of ‘snippets’ that try to capture the essence of a particular garden style. today, ‘modernist’ gardens – I prefer this term to ‘contemporary’ as it is less laden with connotations of what is deemed to be ‘fashionable’ – so a more neutral term, hopefully!

Modernist gardens are crisp and clean. They rely on scale and proportion to provide a dramatic setting and there is simplicity and an absence of ornamentation or embellishment. They often have a strong geometric layout and are open and uncluttered. Sharp lines – whether straight, angled or curved – reinforce the contrast between verticals and horizontals, which are created by the use of structures (walls, pergolas, arbours, seating etc.) and planting (especially those with strong ‘architectural’ forms). Other key features include:

  • asymmetry

  • subtle but clear changes in level

  • modern materials (e.g. concrete, steel, glass, plastics)

  • planting in blocks

  • contemporary furniture

  • reflective water

Let me know what you think makes a Modernist style garden, and if you have some pictures I’d love to see them!

Sources and further information:

Jilly Welch article on modernism

Other posts in the series:

Formal Gardens

Mediterranean Gardens

Cottage gardens

Old School Gardener

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