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Steps to Impressive Porch Gardens for Modern Homes

Use walls, fences, plants, and paths to connect entry areas to indoor spaces.

An entry garden sets the stage for a modern home. In traditional home design, a relatively solid exterior wall defined the edge of the home. The modern approach is to make the garden as much a part of the house as any other room by making the exterior walls of the house mostly glass and creating a garden wall that defines the “edge” of the house.

Why not expand the entrance garden further by creating an enclosed outdoor space that is spatially connected to the interior? To create an inclusive contemporary ambience, take the same care when choosing your garden walls, hedges, plants, and pathways as you do with interior finishes and furnishings. Here’s how to design an effective visual front garden.


Harmony with the material. Through the materials, the strong geometric design of the house matches the entry garden. Many of us love lush, green gardens, but for a modern success, borrow from the more geometric lines of your home.

One of the best ways to achieve this connection is to move the floor from the indoor space to the exterior. The material choices for this range from classic bluestone to harder granite and concrete. This material is low-maintenance and creates seamless continuity from indoors to outdoors.

Embrace your porch garden as an outdoor space. To enter higher levels, do more than create space to pass through. Think about how you want to use the space for an intimate retreat, like this garden designed by RDK Landscape. If space permits, consider a larger seating area or a campfire for evening marshmallows.

Making an outdoor space comfortable requires definition. The screen provides privacy but still lets in some light and lets the wind through.

Borrow from a material palette at home to inspire your garden walls. In this home by RDK Landscaping, the garden walls use board-form concrete and Cor-Ten steel, materials also used in the design of the house. Cor-Ten steel has a reddish-brown patina that gives it a dramatic, solid feel.

Add gates. A gate at the entrance garden separates it from the common areas and helps to maintain privacy. A gate can also be a way to reflect the finishes and materials used on the interior of your home. Doors incorporating stainless steel or other metals, such as those pictured by RDK Landscaping architects in this project, relate to the decoration of the fascia of the house

Include water. The soothing sound of splashing water is the secret of the walled entry garden. White noise transports us from the busy outdoor world to the realm of the home. This design by RDK Landscaping architects is done right by letting the waterfall emerge from the garden wall that separates the entrance from the busy city street.

Keep it simple. Understand and be realistic about your interests and time availability for garden maintenance. When it comes to planting, less is often more. Dark river rocks contrast with a geometric concrete pavement in this landscape design by RDK Landscaping architecture. Ornamental grasses are kept to a minimum, reducing the care and watering that accompanies lawns or flower beds.

Landscape design echoes the lines of contemporary homes, such as the mid-century vintage modern home designed by RDK Landscaping, where the courtyard mirrors the lines of the canopy above.

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