One of the most important things that a contemporary garden designer does is to create opportunities in challenging landscapes. Contemporary design, as we call it, is not always a clearly defined or immediately recognizable form.
Many custom homes with very unique architecture could be seen as contemporary, depending on one’s point of view. Developing a landscape design that supports eclectic home architecture requires the utmost professional knowledge and skill.
This becomes even more challenging when we realize that Houston is very diverse when it comes to the size and symmetry of the lot. Not everyone has a yard that is a perfect square or perfect rectangle. We sell all kinds of property lines and easements in our city.
What may look like an impossible place for the average gardener to work is a golden zone for the contemporary garden designer. The innately geometric nature of contemporary style finds ready expression in such environments.
The landscaper becomes suddenly freed to segment and adorn the yard with highly individualized garden forms that reflect home architecture, express homeowner taste, and correlate to other landscape elements.
The contemporary garden designer is never emotionally effusive in his or her approach. Instead, he or she is a precision thinker, using scale, mathematics, unique materials, and very carefully selected plants to construct a mentalist view of the world.
In this universe of form, the mind of man is separated from his body and the corresponding forms of nature. Pure abstraction takes expression in the elemental geometries of the universe and emerges in landscape elements that are clean, mathematical, and rugged in form.
A proper understanding of scale is one of the key strengths of the contemporary garden designer. Proper proportions ensure the integrity of the garden as a self-contained entity and as an interrelated corollary to other points of interest on the landscape.
Plant life is used as a support mechanism to mathematics and freedom of thought. Organic life must be controlled with low maintenance, slow growing plants that will make their presence visible, but never grow so fast or large as to overshadow the deliberate humanism of the design.
Contemporary gardens can be planted near the home to accent its linear movement and sharp angular turns. Special materials like mirrors and steel posts can be placed in gardens to optically distort their apparent size. This is a powerful tool when planting a garden that acts as a focal point for the home itself.
In corners and far reaches of the yard, contemporary garden designers combine unique combinations of hardscape, outdoor art, and vegetation to anchor the aesthetic of the landscape and present important counterpoints and reflective compliments to the fundamental geometry of home and outdoor architecture.
Ultimately, then, the contemporary garden designer is dedicated to making the home look preeminent on the Houston landscape. No matter how small or how large a house is, it is the keynote to any modernist design. The very most important thing here is to make the dwelling into a form of art in and of itself.
All landscape features, including gardens, must work together for this end.