Have you ever noticed how a clutter-free room or area instantly makes you feel at ease? The clean lines and open space, with everything neatly tucked into its rightful place, has a certain Zen quality about it. And you can extend this feeling to the outside of your home, too.
Less is more
A minimalist garden design pares back the elements and includes only the necessary details. Similarly, adding what is needed and removing the rest has always been the focus in traditional Japanese gardens, so the fusion of these two styles is a natural step. This garden in Sydney has been redesigned to embrace these themes.
It uses a combination of strong landscape lines, a simple planting palette and a limited choice of materials and colours to create a dramatic yet calming space that is aesthetically pleasing but also practical. By complementing this with a blend of interesting textures, finishes and architecturally beautiful shapes in the form of plants, sculptures and furniture, these few select elements ensure the whole garden has an elegant feel and is a wonderful space in which to be all year round.
1. You don’t need to crowd a space with plants and ornaments to create a scene. Here, the circular lines of the metal sculpture and surrounding topiary balls provide a striking visual contrast when viewed with the straight and narrow bamboo stems.
2. Succulents top the list when it comes to plants with bold forms and intriguing textures – ideal for minimalist gardens. Try planting in pots and grouping together for maximum impact.
3. A bamboo hedge is perfect if you need a privacy screen quickly. Try Slender Weavers bamboo – it’s fast growing and can reach up to 6m.
4. Minimalist gardens call for a simple plant palette. Select a few and repeat them throughout the design. Look for plants with attractive foliage shapes or patterns, like agave and philodendron.
5. For a sense of privacy without compromising the view of the garden, consider an ‘open screen’. In this design, a series of custom-made lampposts enclose the entertaining area, while providing more than a glimpse of the sculpture garden and beautifully manicured lawn.
6. Keep plantings simple and purposeful. Here, the architectural silhouettes of philodendron, agave and monstera complement the clean lines of the paving and adjacent deck.
7. There’s beauty to be found in simplicity. A single feature tree, like Gleditisia ‘Sunburst’, underplanted with mounds of fine-leafed Zoysia tenuifolia, provides the courtyard with an enchanting vertical accent. It also creates a balance of positive and negative space, to help inspire a sense of quietude.
8. Even pavers can be turned into a feature by planting a row of low growing grass like Zoysia tenuifolia along the edges. Try varying the patterns and lengths of plantings for added appeal.
9. A pop of colour makes a strong focal point in a space of white and green.
• Set yourself boundaries and don’t overlook them, especially when it comes to the use of colour in the overall design. You will need to limit your palette, so choose wisely. Neutral colours work best, like white, charcoal, brown and green, as they are calming and understated.
• Limiting the number of hardscaping materials will help achieve a simple, clean look. The juxtaposition of these materials, like a timber boardwalk against concrete pavers, will create visual impact.
• Ensure all lines are well defined, whether it’s garden edging or clipped hedges. There’s no room for poor workmanship as it will detract from the minimalist effect.
• Choose plants with bold forms and intriguing textures – agaves, clumping bamboos, frangipanis and succulents.