The contemporary garden has to be designed for contemporary life. It is pleasant to have a large plantsman's garden if you have a couple of acres of land in the country, and all the time there is to look after it and enjoy it. But if you live in a city and have a full-time job and a busy social life, you need a contemporary design.
Contemporary garden design is for those with a town house who want to be able to have a garden in which they can relax and entertain; One which adds a new dimension to their house, but who do not want to have to spend large amounts of time looking after it.
The garden is a slightly sunken area behind the house, as in so many cities. The designer imagines it as an outdoor room. Proper use of space is important, particularly if the yard is to be used by children for games. Other desired uses of the backyard must be taken into consideration when planning a conemporary garden design.
Contemporary Backyard Garden Design Ideas
In many contemporary garden designs, there is a background of evergreen planting in raised beds around the walls. Jasmine, winter jasmine and honeysuckle are often grown on the walls themselves, so that there is scented flowering throughout the year. From the back of the raised beds hornbeams grow up to the tops of the walls from where they are trained across to form a 'ceiling' which gives a dappled shade below. This could as easily be done with beech as well. Using the wall - verticle space - as a part of the garden keeps a larger part of the yard clear for other plants, patios, or can be preserved as open space.
Low Maintenance Contemporary Garden Beds
Beds can be richly filled with hostas and hellebores and a large variety of perennials, none of which require any care at all and all of which can grow in semi-shade. These might include the following:
Aruncus have fern shaped leaves and plumes of white flowers in summer. It is fully hardy and thrives in moist conditions.
Astelia is grown for its foliage, tolerates shade and is frost hardy.
Brunnera â€“ the borage family â€“ positively prefers shade. Siberian bugloss, one of this family, has delicate forget-me-not coloured flowers and heart-shaped, long-stalked leaves.
Berberis is an evergreen bush â€“ except that its leaves are dark red, not green. White flowers in the summer are followed by vividly red berries in winter.
Dryopteris are a species of fern which forms clumps that produce year after year.
Soleirolia (mind-your-own-business) forms thick mats of ground cover all over the beds, mixed in with periwinkle â€“ glossy green leaves and bright blue flowers.
At the front of the raised beds a low box hedge can be placed as well. This helps integrate the raised flower beds with the rest of the yard, and makes it all "flow together" in a sense.
This design gives interest the whole year round, with a wide variety of textures, shapes and colours in the green, blue and white range. There are no 'hot' colours amongst the greenery â€“ it is intended as a restful oasis. It is a low maintenance garden, a term which often immediately gives an impression of dull shrubberies full of laurel. But this low-maintenance garden is contemporary and deeply interesting, although the only maintenance required is the annual clipping of the box hedge. The rest of the garden will look after itself.
Potential Problems For Your Garden
The problem of urban water run-off is one that needs to be tackled when planning a city garden. So many areas in cities have now been covered with non-permeable materials that, in several cities, the sewage systems can no longer cope with the vastly increased amounts of water running off the surfaces and into the drains. Responsible garden designing needs to take this into account. The rainwater in this contemporary garden can be collected in a rainwater barrel. The water is then used in an irrigation system set with a timer to keep the beds moist at all times, conditions which are ideal for the choice of plants outlined above. The garden should be paved with irregularly shaped stone slabs laid quite close together but with a couple of inches of gravel between the slabs. The gravel allows the water to drain through to the soil below. The paving is all at an angle within the rectangle of the garden, which makes the area seem larger than it really is.
A contemporary garden has comfortable conservatory-style chairs which are arranged round the focal point of a stainless steel outdoor fireplace, fueled not by charcoal or wood or gas, but by gel. This alcohol based fuel has revolutionized the luxury outdoor fire industry, but if a real fire, on which you can cook, is preferred, the fireplace can be replaced by a charcoal burning firebowl, an equally contemporary concept. It also decreases the risk of fire and smoke damage to your plants and yard.
Where Can I Find Materials And Supplies For My Contemporary Garden?
All of the "basics," tools, seeds, plants, can be found in the garden section of most supermarkets. Depending on the plant varieties, you will probably have to locate a specialty garden supply shop in order to find the ideal seed and soil varieties. You can pick up expert advice in these shops, so even if you have a supermarket nearby it is to your advantage to at least pop in to a garden specialty shop and hear what you local expert has to say (they will have a good idea how to grow the plants under your local weather conditions). Gravel, brick and stone pavers, and other design materials can usually be located at hardware stores. So while the shopping for your contemporary garden materials might take you to two, three, or more stores, the finished result will be well worth the effort (and won't require much effort once all set up!)