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Is Your Edmonton Backyard Using the Latest Modern Landscape Design Trends?

Alex Newhart


Modern landscaping describes a collection of design techniques, materials, and elements that all create a consistent look and feel in the outdoor living space. Often associated with minimalism, people tend to recognize modern landscape design when they see it even if they don’t know the right term or specific techniques. It’s a design that stands out even as it becomes more popular.

Key Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping design trends are always changing and landscapes that may have been impressive a decade ago now look outdated. Modern landscaping ideas can help you merge new design techniques into your existing landscape, or even inspire a complete overhaul. 

If you dream of a modern front yard in your Edmonton or Sherwood Park property, you should explore how you can integrate modern front yard landscape design ideas into their existing landscape. Below, we’ll further define the design philosophy along with discussing core characteristics that define modern landscape design.

What is Modern Landscape Design?

Modern landscape design draws from the overall design philosophy of minimalism that has been explored in almost every industry. However, it’s important to note that the current incarnation of modern landscape design does not necessarily require minimalism - it was simply the inspiration that started the design philosophy. 

There are dozens of specific characteristics and techniques that create a landscape that has embraced modern design principles. Rather than try to list them all specifically, we can describe the design with a few overarching statements:

  • Focus on straight lines and right angles: Curves are extremely limited with modern landscaping techniques. Lines and angles help direct attention and inform design decisions. Curves are only used very intentionally, often when used as part of a sculpture. 
  • Heavy use of natural materials: Any type of material that shows its natural colors might find a place in a modern front yard landscape design. Finishes and sheens are fine, but the focus is always on enhancing the natural look of the material. 
  • The color scheme is primarily neutral colors: Neutral colors are the standard starting point for modern landscapes. These colors further enhance the focus on the natural look and feel that’s essential to modern design philosophy. 

We could absolutely list more general attributes of modern landscape design, but those will only help you so much. It’s time to get into more specific characteristics that can inspire real-world changes in your landscape.

Characteristics of Modern Landscape Design to Explore

What specific changes can you make to integrate modern landscape design techniques into your front or back yard? Below, we’re going to explore common modern minimalist front yard landscaping techniques that you can immediately put to use or incorporate into a new modern landscape design in your outdoor space.

Gravel or Stone Beds

One of the most common features found throughout modern landscape designs is the careful usage of loose rocks, granite, gravel, or paver stones. This is done to create negative space, which is the practice of using a homogenous look to reduce visual clutter in one area to put the focus on another. 

You can often find stone beds surrounding shrubs and hedges or creating useful walkways. There are countless ways to integrate gravel and stone into your design, but it must be done carefully. The purpose here is not to dive into rockscaping, you still want grass and plenty of plant life throughout your property. Consider adding a stone pathway to your backyard or replacing soil with loose gravel.

Heavy Use of Right Angles

One of the most defining features of modern front yard landscaping is using right angles over curved corners. Additionally, any shapes should be squares or rectangles over any rounded shapes. A few ways landscape architects incorporate right angles into your design are:

  • Walking paths should focus on straight lines and right angles. Any turns should be 90-degrees and the individual stepping stones should be square or right angle. 
  • Any bushes, shrubs, and hedges should be manicured to be in square-like shapes and avoid any curves. 
  • Outdoor furniture should match the overall design, including the emphasis on right angles. Fortunately, is a wide range of outdoor furniture options that also embrace minimalism and modern design. 

Curves have their place, but there should only be a few of them. For example, a tasteful metal sculpture can certainly make use of curves, but the contrast against the right angles is what makes the sculpture a compelling feature.

Metal and Wood Features

Modern front yard landscape design prizes woods and metals above all other materials, and you should entirely avoid plastic. Incorporate wood and metal into your design as often as possible. This can be done when designing many different areas of your landscape, such as outdoor furniture, accent features, walkways, and awnings. 

Get creative with how you integrate metal and wood with your design. As long as you abide by the overall guiding principles of modern design, you can freely create a unique and stand out space in your beautiful back or front yard. Some ways to add metals and woods to your design are:

  • Add wooden retainer walls to flower beds
  • Add wrought iron benches
  • Add a metal fireplace with a wooden seating area
  • Add rusted sculptures and water features
  • Add a wooden deck with metal railing

There are potentially hundreds of ways that wood and metal can be incorporated into your design. Keep exploring different landscape design feature ideas to see which types of wooden and metal elements will enhance your overall design.

Water Features are Welcomed

There are dozens of different water features that you can potentially include in your design. Both the front yard and back yard have water feature options that can be used. Fountains, birdbaths, and ponds each add a mood of relaxation to your yard.

However, you need to keep in mind a few important things when picking out the perfect water feature for your landscape:

  • It should look attractive and add to the design even when it’s not running
  • It should make use of high-efficiency pumps if pumps are involved
  • It should fit in with the overall design of your landscape and ideally be designed with modern design in mind

Deciding to add a water feature is a large undertaking but it can transform your landscape. If you dream of listening to a running fountain while you sip on your coffee outside in the morning, water features might be worth exploring.

Expertly Manicured Garden and Hedges

Any plant life that you include in your landscape should be properly maintained and manicured. Overgrown or dying plants have no place in a yard that has embraced modern landscape design. 

You can certainly decide to take on the task yourself, but it might be better to hire a professional landscaping company to handle the job. Maintaining a landscape manicuring schedule can be difficult for many people and hiring landscape specialists ensures that your backyard consistently has the same look.

Keep Utility in Mind

Do you want to actually spend time in your front or back yard? If not, it’s perfectly fine to focus on aesthetics. However, those who want to play volleyball, host barbeques, or just relax outside will need to keep these ideas in mind throughout the design process. 

You can still embrace modern landscape design for yards that you want to spend time in. Each of the above guidelines needs to be applied to any additional features or changes that you make in order to preserve the desired look. For example, someone who wants to regularly have large parties in their backyard will need more outdoor seating options than usual and the added seating should fit in with the overall design. 

When it comes time to draft your new design, do so with utility in mind in addition to how it’s going to look. You don’t want to accidentally create a beautiful yard and overlook a way you intended to use it.

Work with Landscape Design Experts to Fully Modernize Your Landscape

Modern landscape design has widespread appeal, but executing a small outdoor project or a complete redesign will require significant forethought. 

You’ll need to have a fully-formed design before the landscapers arrive at your house in order to ensure that everything is exactly as you imagined and that everything will work together. 

Many homeowners decide to take on landscape design themselves, but doing so can lead to expensive problems down the line. 

Professional landscape designers know both how to bring your dreams to life and design a landscape that has considered every variable. They’ll take into account aspects of your landscape that you might not, such as a water runoff strategy and adding plumbing for water features or sprinkling systems. 

Do you need professional advice about design for your landscape project? Are you looking to create a beautiful, modern landscape design for your Edmonton backyard? No matter what your landscaping project is, our professional landscape designers will work with you to bring your modern landscape to life. Contact us today,  browse our residential landscaping services page, or take a look at the project gallery.