Modern perennial garden design inspiration

Lurie Garden (Piet Oudolf) – Millennium Park – Chicago IL by westher is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

As gardeners, we love visiting and viewing other gardens and we spend many hours dreaming about and visualing what our perfect gardens might look like. Or, at least I do.

Below are some of the gardens I have been dreaming up with the help of AI.

The theme is is the modern perennial garden, inspired by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury. This kind of garden is characterised by a naturalistic style of planting, incorporating lots of grasses and a variety of colours and textures. You can see what it looks like above at a large scale in the public planting by Oudolf in the Lurie Garden in Chicago.

One of the most important aspects of this type of planting is that the plants are grouped in blocks. You need to be bold and plant in groups of 20 or 30 rather than groups of 3 or 5, as we typically plant.

What you can also see from the images below, is that there is a real synergy between this garden style and the modern architecture that the gardens have been coupled with. I think this has to do with the soft colours and flowing forms of the planting contrasted with the straight lines of the buildings.

This is also evident in the way that the planting works in the Lurie garden, surrounded by modern high rise buildings.

Modern patio perennial planting

I love the use of abundant planting – and a water feature – really close to the house in this image.

The tall grasses contrast with the shorter perennials, with additional height and interest provided by the narrow, shapely trees.

Modern perennial garden planting

In the picture above, we see how the curves of the border dictate the curves of the lawn, and how this curvy theme is picked up in the mounds of low blue and purple planting.

The height of the trees and the width of the main border suggest a real depth and fullness to the planting.

The whole picture of curves and soft planting complements and contrasts with the beautiful clean lines of the house.

The picture below also reflects the theme of low planting near the house, softening the lines of the building. The grassy area seems to add light and space to the scene and the large tree gives a sense of maturity to the setting.

Modern decking perennial planting

Decking, whilst utilitarian, often presents a rather sterile look adjacent to the home, which is why we often fill our decks with pots and and containers.

Here, an even better effect is achieved by setting the planting in a recessed planting space within the deck.

The other interesting feature in this design is the use of white/light planting which lifts the shady space.

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