Exterior Worlds
Modern Garden Design
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Modern Hardscape

That makes modern hardscape unique compared to other forms of hardscape design?
It has a definitively contemporary look to it. It is normally light in color in order to make it stand out from the surrounding lawn. it also has more dimensions to it. It is not uncommon it to include walls, steps, terraces, and even sunken courtyard areas. Many times these surface areas are used to showcase modern art, and as such, work like frames around three-dimensional pictures.

What is the most common material used to build modern hardscapes?
Believe it or not, plain concrete is one of the most popular materials we use. Plain concrete looks very bright in the sun and will catch the eye immediately. It is also very cost effective to pour into linear shapes to use in decorative walls, and circular shapes to use in custom patios. Concrete can be colored gray or any other color, of course, for an additional cost. Many people like it to have the look and feel of limestone.

Can bricks be used in modern hardscape design?
Yes. There are hundreds of different types and sizes of bricks, and there are just as many colors. One of the more popular contemporary patio styles is to build a small patio just outside of a bedroom door or side door to the home using bricks that match those of the home. The patio can be rectangular, square, or radial in nature, and it can be surrounded by walls on the side to give it greater drama and interest.

Does stone look too traditional to be used for modern hardscapes?
That all depends on the type of stone you are talking about, and if you are talking about stone design versus stone as a building material.


If it is design we are talking about, we definitely do not want to use too many “natural” type stones on a modern landscape in order to preserve its characteristic humanism and Mentalism. Naturally shaped stones are usually used to punctuate the landscape, or to accent contemporary garden designs.

In terms of the stone as building materials, there are hundreds that we can choose from. It all depends on what we are building, and the quality and the cut of the stone itself.

What type of stone would you use to build a contemporary stone patio?
We would use cut, polished stones that are highly reflective. If the patio was large, and close to the back of the home, we would build it in multiple levels with steps and walls that would give you the feeling of a dramatic descend into the landscape below.

Could a modern hardscape like this be tied in with garden design?
Yes. In fact, contemporary landscaping often combines patios with garden design. This is particularly easy to do when we are building a patio out of cut stone. All we need to do to create a space for plants is simply omit a small number of stones during the construction process.

The exposed earth within the patio then becomes an ideal place to plant a small, low-growth tree or clumping of slow-growth shrubs. It also provides an ideal environment for a bit of stone landscaping as well, as the interiors of these gardens are typically filled with gravel and rocks.