Compass Garden Design

Title Image

Beautiful Blog

Garden & Landscape Design
Contemporary Garden Design

What Makes a Garden Contemporary?

Sometimes the terms ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’ can be confused, at least where landscape gardening is concerned. The former refers to a gardening style which dates back to the early 20th Century, and is characterised by clean, sharp edges, symmetrical features and neutral colours.

A contemporary garden, by contrast, is much more reflective of current trends and tastes when it comes to its plants, its individual components and its overall design. Here, Compass Garden and Landscape Design, who provide contemporary garden designs for customers in Wiltshire and the South-West of England, look at some of this style’s latest key features.


More and more people are looking for ‘green’ solutions when it comes to redesigning their outdoor space. This means using local suppliers (cutting the customer’s carbon footprint) and using wooden fences and decking as features, as wood is such a sustainable and renewable material.

Stone and slate can also be considered environmentally friendly as they also occur naturally, so patios and pathways can be designed with these in mind. Also, covering flower beds with a natural mulch will help give them a more uniform (not to mention well cared-for) appearance.

The Minimalist Approach

Less can be more in garden landscaping terms. So, instead of filling the garden with all types of soft and hard landscaping, the contemporary trend is to just have a few well-placed items. A single ornate bench or table (along with as few chairs as you will usually need) creates a real impression on visitors and will help ensure that the garden doesn’t get too crowded.

It doesn’t have to be furniture either – other permanent features such as clocks, sun dials, firepits don’t take up much room and can give any outdoor space some individual character or quirkiness.

Let There Be Light

One of the key ways in which contemporary and modern styles differ is in the use of lighting – electric lighting was in its infancy when modern garden design first came along.

With a contemporary design, you can use suspended lights for an industrial look, or downlighting to put the focus on particular areas or plants. Whatever you choose, don’t go overboard – it could make the garden look too ‘busy’ and detract from the minimalist approach outlined above.

Water Works

As with lighting, a simple water feature can add interest to any garden. The sound of running water provides a soothing addition to any outdoor space, and it also helps improve the sustainability of your garden as it could provide a water source for birds and insects. As with the lighting, the feature isn’t usually too big or intricate – a simple fountain or pond will suffice.

Architectural Plants

In many contemporary gardens, the plants can be described as ‘architectural’. This means they have a distinctive shape, a strong structure and usually add a dramatic touch to any garden design.

In soft landscaping terms, this means using topiaries (pictured above) which can be trimmed into virtually any shape; ornamental grasses; symmetrical plants such agapanthus and alliums; and making sure the hedges are well trimmed and there are plenty of potted plants dotted around.

Straight Lines

There are some areas in which contemporary and modern gardens overlap – for instance they share the common characteristic of having plenty of straight-line features. This means both contain square or rectangular flower beds (and footpaths) rather than curved ones. In recent years, this style has been emphasised with the use of square decking and patios.

A Contemporary Garden Design in Wiltshire with Compass Garden and Landscape Design

At Compass Garden and Landscape Design we can help you if you want to create a contemporary or a modern garden design. We are in touch with all the latest trends, and we may be able to suggest one or two ideas of our own when it comes to reconfiguring your outdoor space.

We also run a planting consultancy service for all our customers, whether they are from Tetbury, Bristol, Bath or anywhere in South-West England. So, if you are looking for architectural or symmetrical plants, we know what will work well in your soil and climatic conditions.

We are also partners with Good Directions Ltd, who can create bespoke features such as weathervanes, sun dials, firepits and other items. For more details follow this link.

If you’d like us to create a contemporary garden for you, click here and fill in the online form; you can also call us on 07920 051549.

Starting a New Project?

Give us a call on 07920 051549