8 Inspirations for a Modern Summer Garden

Written by Kelsey

When I think “modern,” I think clean lines, airy spaces and thoughtfully curated collections. And, too often, when I’ve thought “garden,” the first thing that came to mind was a traditional cottage patch, bursting with rambling rose vines and wildflowers in excess. But who says a garden can’t be modern? Design principles that make an interior space feel modern can be brought outside, and to stunning effect. Here are a few examples that aren’t your grandma’s garden (and if they are, I’d love to meet her):


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Clean and tidy lines are a staple of modern design. Here, the arrangement is artistic and geometric, softened by the round bushes and free-form plantings along perpendicular lines.


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Spare but succulent, this Palm Springs desert design is low maintenance and totally cool. The artfully arranged plants aren’t crowded, so the space feels bigger and cleaner. And the pure white patio furniture complements the layout with a mid-century vibe.


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Serenity, now! The thoughtful placement of outdoor lighting in this space reminds me of a modern Zen garden, and the undulating path looks like a river of stars. Contrasting hard concrete with the soft curves of the path and plants lends a cool femininity to an otherwise masculine space.


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This stunning patio space is so inviting, it feels like a backyard oasis. Even with its relatively small area, considerate design opens up entertaining possibilities with different seating areas. And the organic features mingled with modern furnishings are fresh and unexpected.


Design by Rees Roberts + Partners. Image via

Talk about oasis! This lush space still ticks all my modern design boxes with its minimalist layout and simple furniture. The tone-on-tone color scheme is a clever way to impart a feeling of effortless tranquility.


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At first glance, this garden recalls that cottage feel, but a closer look reveals a deliberate eye for modernity. Tonal harmony with the plant color choices and the combination of textures (including the fabulously geometric contribution from the seating by Innit Designs) complement the home’s mid-century style with a relaxed, organic respite from the hard angles of the house’s exterior.


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Container plantings bring life to this mostly hardscape patio garden. Also a great option for small spaces or balconies, there are myriad modern containers that enhance a landscape without having to be dug into the ground—something I love as a renter.


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Finally, even in a modern design, there’s room for traditional elements. I love the juxtaposition of the modern lines and outdoor sofa against the manicured lawn and carefully coiffed topiaries. When mixing old-fashioned elements into modern spaces, structure is key.

About the author



When she’s not polishing up promotions as a web content specialist for Lumens, Kelsey is practicing how to properly pronounce Danish, if only to be able to say “home is where the ‘hygge’ is.” Aside from Scandinavian design, she spends a lot of time thinking about organic gardening, mini farms, honey bees and England.

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