10 Modern Gardens That Freshen Up Traditional Homes

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By Ethan Bodnar / Published by Dwell
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Even if you're working with a home that's more traditional that you'd like, there's still ways to modernize it without going through an entire home renovation. The garden is a great place to start, and can have a powerful effect on your home's visage.

We've rounded up 10 examples of older homes that may be lacking a crisp modern structure, but boast a landscape that's refreshing and contemporary. 

As the founder of one of Sydney’s leading landscape companies, Michael Bates designed the luscious garden of his 100-year-old sandstone home in North Sydney. He augmented the existing plantings and made the space functional and more optimal for entertaining. He chose a focused selection of plants with broad leaves.

As the founder of one of Sydney’s leading landscape companies, Michael Bates designed the luscious garden of his 100-year-old sandstone home in North Sydney. He augmented the existing plantings and made the space functional and more optimal for entertaining. He chose a focused selection of plants with broad leaves.


In this garden by Mark Tessier, tiled stairs with a modern pattern bring a geometric and playful touch to this traditional home.

In this garden by Mark Tessier, tiled stairs with a modern pattern bring a geometric and playful touch to this traditional home.


Elysian Landscapes modernized a classic brownstone by creating a private bi-level patio with clean, built-in seating for outdoor dining.

Elysian Landscapes modernized a classic brownstone by creating a private bi-level patio with clean, built-in seating for outdoor dining.


In this garden by Flora Grubb, contemporary containers and minimal furniture help to create an eclectic, modern environment. 

In this garden by Flora Grubb, contemporary containers and minimal furniture help to create an eclectic, modern environment. 


Connecting the home to the garden was the highest priority for Arkin Tilt Architects. A 14-foot-wide, multi-fold door completely opens the new dining room to the outdoors, while shading the interior space from the western sun. The deep covered porch features an outdoor countertop and sink for washing vegetables on the way from the garden to the table.

Connecting the home to the garden was the highest priority for Arkin Tilt Architects. A 14-foot-wide, multi-fold door completely opens the new dining room to the outdoors, while shading the interior space from the western sun. The deep covered porch features an outdoor countertop and sink for washing vegetables on the way from the garden to the table.


Natasha Morgan's garden incorporates multiple traditional annuals and perennials, but are presented in a graphic way.

Natasha Morgan's garden incorporates multiple traditional annuals and perennials, but are presented in a graphic way.


Don't forget to consider the backdrop that your plants will be seen against. In Rachel and Andrew's garden—the couple behind YIELD Design Co.—they created a modern contrast between the tropical plants and the new coat of black paint on the exterior.

Don't forget to consider the backdrop that your plants will be seen against. In Rachel and Andrew's garden—the couple behind YIELD Design Co.—they created a modern contrast between the tropical plants and the new coat of black paint on the exterior.


In this garden by Suzanne Arca, she uses decomposed granite and mediterranean plants to develop a contemporary palette.

In this garden by Suzanne Arca, she uses decomposed granite and mediterranean plants to develop a contemporary palette.


The plants themselves contribute greatly to the design and feeling of your garden. In this front yard by Adam Woodruff, he rethought the classic cottage garden by implementing creative, playful, and edgy plants.

The plants themselves contribute greatly to the design and feeling of your garden. In this front yard by Adam Woodruff, he rethought the classic cottage garden by implementing creative, playful, and edgy plants.


Designed by Arterra Landscape Architects for a pair of gastronomists and their children, this garden sits on the property of a traditional home, but boasts a modern landscape where the children can roam free among fruits, herbs, and vegetables. 

Designed by Arterra Landscape Architects for a pair of gastronomists and their children, this garden sits on the property of a traditional home, but boasts a modern landscape where the children can roam free among fruits, herbs, and vegetables.