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Simple Modern Landscaping | State College, PA

A wood deck with minimalist features and clean lines

If you want to transform your outdoor space, simple modern landscaping is a fantastic way to achieve a sleek, contemporary look. This blog will guide you through the basics and benefits of modern landscaping and help you create a beautiful and functional outdoor area. Plus, we also provide some designing ideas!

Modern landscaping emphasizes clean lines, minimalism, and sustainable practices, making it perfect for anyone wanting a stylish yet low-maintenance garden. Knowing about the principles of modern design can help you make informed choices when you avail of professional PA landscape design services.

Key Takeaways

  • Modern landscaping emphasizes clean lines, minimalism, and eco-friendly practices to create a stylish, low-maintenance outdoor space.

  • Designing your landscape involves careful consideration of space, climate, budget, and personal preferences to ensure functionality and aesthetic appeal.

  • Hiring professional landscape designers can help you achieve a cohesive and expertly crafted modern landscape that meets your needs.

What Is Modern Landscape Design?

A backyard with a contemporary design, with a concrete deck and wicker chairs

Modern landscape design is all about creating outdoor spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. It focuses on simplicity, clean lines, and minimalism, which together create a sense of order and tranquility.


Clean lines and geometric shapes

Modern landscaping often includes straight pathways, rectangular patios, and other geometric features. These elements help create a cohesive look that is visually striking and easy to navigate.


A modern garden typically avoids clutter and focuses on essential elements. This might include a few statement plants, large pavers, and a simple yet elegant seating area. The goal is to create a space that feels open and uncluttered.

Eco-friendly practices

Integrating eco-friendly practices is a crucial aspect of modern landscape design. This can involve using native plants that require less water and maintenance, incorporating drought-tolerant species, and using sustainable materials like reclaimed wood or recycled metal.

Modern landscape design creates a space that works well for your lifestyle and the environment. Its focus is on creating a stunning landscape that is both beautiful and easy to maintain.

Modern Landscaping and its Elements

A modern front yard with decorative gravel

As previously mentioned, modern landscaping has several elements that define it. Let's go more in-depth here.

Clean lines and geometric shapes

Clean lines and geometric shapes are fundamental to modern landscape design. They create a sense of order and sophistication, making the space feel structured and intentional. 

For example, straight pathways, rectangular patios, and neatly edged plant beds define areas clearly and enhance the overall looks of a space. Try incorporating geometric features like a grid of stepping stones or a series of square planters to add visual interest while maintaining a minimalist appeal.

Minimalist aesthetic

Achieving a minimalist look in your outdoor space involves focusing on simplicity and functionality. Here are some tips:

  • Select essential elements: Choose only a few statement pieces, like a striking sculpture or a unique plant, to avoid clutter.

  • Use neutral colors: Opt for a subdued color palette, allowing natural elements and plants to stand out.

  • Incorporate multi-functional furniture: Use furniture that serves multiple purposes, like a bench with storage, to keep the space tidy and efficient.

  • Limit plant varieties: Stick to a few plants with similar colors and textures for a cohesive look.

Eco-friendly practices

Modern landscaping embraces eco-friendly practices, emphasizing sustainability and environmental responsibility.

  • Native plants: Use native plants that are well-adapted to the local climate, requiring less water and maintenance. These plants also support local wildlife.

  • Sustainable materials: Choose reclaimed wood, recycled metal, and permeable pavers to reduce environmental impact.

  • Water-efficient systems: Implement drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting systems to conserve water. Drought-tolerant plants are also a smart choice for reducing water usage.

Outdoor living spaces

Designing functional and comfortable outdoor living spaces is another aspect of modern landscaping.

  • Comfortable seating: Incorporate cozy seating areas with weather-resistant furniture to create inviting spots for relaxation and entertainment.

  • Outdoor kitchen: An outdoor kitchen can enhance your outdoor living experience, providing a space for cooking and dining al fresco.

  • Fire pit: Adding a fire pit provides warmth and serves as a focal point for gatherings, making your backyard a social hub.

  • Lighting features: Use strategic lighting to highlight key features and extend the usability of the space into the evening. Consider options like string lights, recessed lighting, and path lights to create ambiance and improve safety.

How Much Does Modern Landscaping Cost?

Now, let's move on to a very important topic: cost. How much will modern landscaping affect your budget, and what are the factors that affect it? Let's break it down.

Factors affecting cost

Several factors can influence the overall cost when planning a modern landscaping project. 

Design fees

Hiring a professional landscape designer typically involves design fees, which can vary based on their expertise and the complexity of your project. These fees cover the creation of detailed plans and renderings that guide the installation process.


The choice of materials significantly impacts the cost. High-quality materials like natural stone, premium wood, and specialty plants can be more expensive but offer durability and aesthetic appeal. 

Eco-friendly materials, while potentially more costly upfront, can save money in the long term through reduced maintenance and water usage.

Hardscape features

Hardscape elements, such as patios, walkways, retaining walls, and fire pits, add functionality and beauty to your landscape but can be a substantial part of the budget. The complexity of these features and the materials used will determine their cost.


Incorporating lighting enhances the usability and ambiance of your outdoor space. Options range from basic solar lights to sophisticated landscape lighting systems with timers and remote controls. The type and extent of lighting will affect the overall expense.


Efficient irrigation systems are crucial for maintaining a healthy landscape. Costs vary based on the type of system (e.g., drip irrigation vs. traditional sprinklers), the size of the area, and the specific watering needs of your plants.

Budget-Friendly Tips

You don't have to break the bank to have your landscape modernized. Here are some strategies to achieve your desired look without overspending:

DIY options

If you would like some DIY, take on the simple aspects of the project yourself, such as planting, mulching, or installing simple features like garden beds. This can significantly reduce labor costs and give you a sense of accomplishment. 

The more complex ones should be left for professionals because you don't want to be left with a landscape you're unsatisfied with and then have to redo again. A failed project will cost you so much more in the long run than what you saved DIY-ing.

Prioritize features

Identify the most important elements of your design and prioritize them. Focus on essential features first, such as a patio or key plantings, and add other elements over time as your budget allows.

  • Phased implementation: Break your project into phases to spread out costs. Start with foundational elements like hardscaping and essential plantings, then gradually add additional features like lighting, water features, or decorative elements as your budget allows.

  • Use affordable materials: Opt for cost-effective materials that still provide a modern look. For example, concrete can be a budget-friendly alternative to natural stone for pathways and patios. Similarly, gravel or mulch can be used in place of more expensive ground covers.

  • Choose low-maintenance plants: Select plants that require minimal upkeep and are well-suited to your climate. Native plants, drought-tolerant species, and hardy perennials can reduce long-term maintenance costs and water usage.

Choosing the Best Modern Landscape Design

Before you go designing your landscape or speaking with a professional, here are things you have to consider and take note of:

Identify needs and preferences

When selecting a modern landscape design, start by assessing your needs and preferences. Consider the following aspects:

  • Style: Determine the overall style you want to achieve. Modern landscape design can range from sleek and minimalist to more eclectic and artistic. Your preferred style will guide your choices for plants, materials, and features.

  • Space and functionality: Think about how you plan to use your outdoor space. Do you need areas for entertaining, gardening, or relaxation? Functional needs should align with your design to create a practical and enjoyable environment.

Consider the size and shape of the space

The size and shape of your space play a crucial role in landscape design. Here are some tips for different space sizes:

  • Small spaces: Use vertical elements like tall planters and trellises to add height and interest without crowding the area. Opt for multi-functional furniture to maximize utility and keep the design simple and uncluttered to make the space feel larger.

  • Large spaces: Break the area into distinct zones for different activities, such as dining, lounging, and gardening. Incorporate larger features like expansive patios, water features, and extensive plantings to fill the space proportionally, and use pathways and varied textures to create visual interest and guide movement through the landscape.

Think about the climate

If you want a low-maintenance landscape, select plants that are native to your area and materials that are plentiful there:

  • Plants: Choose native plants that are well-suited to your region's climate. These plants will require less water and care. Consider drought-tolerant plants if you live in an area with low rainfall. These species will reduce water usage and maintenance efforts.

  • Materials: Use materials that can withstand local weather conditions. For instance, choose weather-resistant furniture and durable paving materials that won't deteriorate quickly.

Set a budget

Establishing a budget early in the process will help you stay on track financially. Here's how to plan effectively:

  • Cost estimation: Break down the costs of various elements such as design fees, materials, labor, and ongoing maintenance. Consider getting quotes from multiple contractors to ensure you are getting a fair price.

  • Prioritization: Prioritize essential features and elements that provide the most value or impact. This approach helps ensure that the most important aspects of your design are completed first, even if budget constraints arise.

Research and find inspiration

Gather ideas to significantly enhance your landscape design. While doing research, you might find an alternative to an expensive feature or enhancement you previously set your heart on.

  • Inspiration: Look for ideas in magazines, online platforms, and garden tours. Pay attention to modern landscape design elements that catch your eye and could work in your space.

  • Create a mood board or collection of images that reflect your vision. This visual guide can help communicate your ideas to a designer or contractor.

  • Consult professionals: Seek advice from landscape designers or architects who specialize in modern design. Their expertise can help refine your ideas and create a cohesive plan that suits your needs and budget.

  • Engage with local nurseries and garden centers for plant recommendations and care tips specific to your area.

By carefully considering your needs, space, climate, and budget and gathering ample inspiration, you can choose a modern landscape design that perfectly fits your vision and lifestyle.

Modern Landscape Design Ideas

Now, let's help you find some inspiration. Here are yard landscaping ideas with a modern flair.

Minimalist low-maintenance garden

Newly landscaped front yard with dark mulch, large stones, stone bench, and lush greenery

A minimalist, low-maintenance garden focuses on simplicity and functionality, making it perfect for those who prefer an uncluttered look with easy upkeep. How you can achieve this:

  • Simple layouts: Clean lines and open spaces reduce the need for constant upkeep.

  • Hardy plants: Use drought-tolerant and native plants that require minimal watering and care.

  • Mulch and ground cover: Mulching helps retain moisture and suppress weeds, while ground cover plants reduce the need for mowing.

  • Automated systems: Drip irrigation and automatic lighting systems simplify maintenance.

Modern outdoor living space

A modern design style for a yars with comfortable seating, stone pavers, and benches

Transform your backyard into an inviting modern outdoor living space with these components and enhancements. How you can achieve this:

  • Comfortable seating: Weather-resistant furniture like sectionals, lounge chairs, and hammocks create cozy spots for relaxation.

  • Outdoor kitchen: Incorporate a grill, sink, and counter space for cooking and dining al fresco.

  • Shade structures: Pergolas, umbrellas, and shade sails provide comfort during hot days.

  • Decorative lighting: Use string lights, lanterns, and recessed lighting to enhance ambiance and extend usability into the evening.

Cozy fire pit gathering

Stone fire pit with chairs on the side

Design a cozy gathering spot with a modern fire pit, perfect for socializing and enjoying the outdoors year-round. How you can achieve this: 

  • Fire pit styles: Choose from in-ground, above-ground, or portable fire pits based on your space and preference.

  • Materials: Opt for materials like steel, stone, or concrete for durability and aesthetic appeal.

  • Seating arrangement: Arrange seating in a circular or semi-circular layout for optimal warmth and interaction.

  • Safety features: Ensure there's a safe distance from flammable materials, and consider using a fire screen or guard.

Bold, colorful patio furniture

A minimalist patio with a sunny hammock and string lights.

Adding bold, colorful patio furniture can infuse your outdoor space with personality and style. How you can achieve this:

  • Color choices: Choose vibrant hues like turquoise, red, and yellow to create a lively atmosphere and some lovely striking contrast.

  • Mix and match: Combine different colors and patterns to add depth and interest.

  • Durable materials: Look for furniture made from weather-resistant materials like powder-coated metal, plastic, or treated wood.

  • Accessorize: Use colorful cushions, rugs, and umbrellas to complement the furniture and enhance comfort.

Vertical stacked planter boxes

A wall decorated with vertical planters

Vertical stacked planter boxes are a great solution for adding greenery without taking up much space, making them ideal for modern landscapes. Here are their advantages:

  • Space-saving: Perfect for small yards, patios, or balconies where horizontal space is limited.

  • Variety of plants: Grow a variety of plants, including herbs, flowers, and vegetables, in a compact area.

  • Easy maintenance: Vertical planters are easier to water and manage, reducing bending and kneeling.

  • Aesthetic appeal: Stacked planter boxes add visual interest and can be used to create living walls or privacy screens.

Let's Turn Your Modern Backyard Ideas into A Beautiful Reality!

We're Landscape II, and we craft beautiful and visually interesting outdoor experiences. Whether you're dreaming of a sleek minimalist garden, a vibrant outdoor living area, or anything in between, we've got you covered. 

Our team can design, build, install, and maintain your perfect modern landscape with expertise and care. 

Why choose us?

  • Comprehensive services: From initial design to ongoing maintenance, we handle it all.

  • Expert craftsmanship: Our skilled professionals ensure every detail is perfect.

  • Tailored solutions: We customize our services to meet your unique needs and personal style.

Transform your modern landscaping ideas into a stunning yard that makes neighbors look. Book your FREE consultation today, and let's get started creating the landscape of your dreams. Your perfect outdoor oasis is just a call away!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you design a modern landscape?

Designing a modern landscape involves incorporating clean lines, geometric shapes, minimalist aesthetics, and eco-friendly practices. 

Start by assessing your space and needs, then create a plan that includes key features like straight pathways, sleek patios, and native plants. Consider hiring a professional designer for a cohesive look.

What is the easiest landscaping to maintain?

The easiest landscaping to maintain is one that uses low-maintenance plants, such as native and drought-tolerant species, and simple hardscape features. Mulching, ground covers, and automated irrigation systems also reduce upkeep efforts. 

Minimalist designs with fewer plants and clean lines are typically easier to care for.

What are the colors for modern landscapes?

Modern landscapes often feature neutral colors like gray, black, white, and beige to create a sleek and sophisticated look. These are complemented by the natural greens of plants and occasional pops of bold colors like red, yellow, or turquoise in furniture and decor to add personality and visual interest.

What is minimalist landscaping?

Minimalist landscaping focuses on simplicity, functionality, and uncluttered spaces. It uses a limited number of plant varieties, essential features, and a subdued color palette.

The goal is to create an open and serene outdoor environment that is easy to maintain and visually appealing.


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