The open concept garden is dead; long live the broken plan garden. A fundamental shift in garden design preferences is seeing out the traditional open layout with a lawn in the middle. Garden owners are increasingly favoring more complex layouts with discreet zones, which reflects the changing ways in which we use our backyard spaces.
An Austin-based interior designer gives a masterclass in modern garden ideas using a broken plan layout. The outdoor space at this beautiful house designed by Christina Simon at Mark Ashby Design (opens in new tab) and the landscape architect Ten Eyke (opens in new tab), has an enviable location, opening up to Taylor’s Branch, a quiet inlet off of Lake Austin.
The dramatic redesign of the outdoor space takes full advantage of the benefits of breaking up a garden into separate zones. Here are the top styling lessons about this popular garden trend to take from this stunning space.
1. The swimming pool does not have to be in the center
One of the cleverest outdoor design moves in this garden is the off-center positioning of the swimming pool. Contemporary pool ideas are all about asymmetry and the pool interacting with the other backyard zones rather than dominating the garden completely. Here, a two-tiered infinity pool effectively trails off into the surrounding greenery, adding a spectacular element of drama to the poolside area.
2. Use distinct seating styles in different areas
Broken plans work even as part of small garden ideas, but you have to be imaginative in giving each area its own style. Choosing the best garden furniture for each area in a broken plan garden calls for panache and boldness. Subtle differences will not do here – instead, go for visually very distinct furniture styles in different zones.
The effects of such bold choices are striking in the Austin garden. While one of the areas uses graphic black, almost industrial-style seating, the more secluded outdoor lounge area uses bespoke seating carved from wood. The contrast between the sharply contemporary and the warmer, more rustic styles is very pleasing.
3. Choose paving materials appropriately
Garden paving is another crucial element of a successful broken plan garden. The paving choices for your patio ideas or outdoor living area will be different from the poolside or dining area. In this garden, the outdoor lounge area has relaxed gravel paving, while the poolside and dining area feature high-end, sleek light stone.
These paving choices will work on a smaller scale just as well – and even make a smaller garden look larger. Contrasting paving gives an outdoor space more depth and dimension, as well as serving different purposes on a functional level.
As this exquisite outdoor design demonstrates, why have one single-purpose space when you can create a multi-purpose, exciting collection of outdoor spaces that all speak to one another?
Anna is Consumer Editor across Future home titles. She contributes to Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home and Real Homes, and she has a background in academic research. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s. Not just an expert in consumer shopping trends, she has also written about literature, architecture, and photography, and has a special interest in high-end interior design.
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