Modernist principles in gardening come from the Modernist style of architecture, which emerged at beginning of the twentieth century. This made use of the newest technological developments to design buildings that did not have to rely on traditional building techniques. Reinforced concrete could be moulded into exciting new forms, creating lighter buildings with bigger, interconnected spaces and uncluttered interiors.
Today there is a new wave of Modernist thinking, which regards the garden as an outside room whose link with the house is paramount. Key elements of the building’s architecture such as doors and windows will be repeated as elements of the garden.
Wooden floors inside the house can be repeated outside with wooden decking, and stone floors with stone paving. A lawn or rectangular paved area outside can be related to a rug indoors.
Even if your house is not particularly interesting architecturally, you can feel free to interpret a traditional style of garden design in a modern way, bringing new ideas to an old theme. Whereas the classical formal garden is based on a central axis, Modernist gardens are always asymmetrical. Nevertheless, they are unmistakably formal. The lines are geometric, the ideas and plants are few but repeated. The angles and spaces are dynamic, implying energy and life, but the uncluttered terraces are also tranquil.
The modern garden takes the idea of the garden ‘room’ quite literally. The lines are geometric, the feeling architectural, the plants few but sculptural. Modern materials such as engineering bricks or decking can be used, and water is often present in the form of a sculptural fountain, again using modern materials such as stainless steel or glass.
The trimmings are the plants, which include spring and summer flowers, grown in pots and urns or galvanized metal buckets and dustbins. They can be moved around as desired. Such gardens are designed for minimum maintenance, often for people with busy lives and exacting jobs who want to use the garden for leisure and entertaining, not for propagating and growing. There is no aping nature here; this is an artificial environment and proud of it.