The modern style is one that is often longed for by most people when it comes to living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. But is a modern style suitable for a new landscaped garden?
One thing I have found creating new gardens in Buckinghamshire over the years is the county lends itself to a more traditional style typical in small Chiltern villages and rural areas. There is however still a strong love of modern renovations inside traditional properties but rarely with modern gardens.
Mr Rouse's garden we completed in September 2015 above is a good example of how a modern garden can be created successfully by creating a transition from internal to external.
Bringing the outside in and the inside out is a typical concept of garden designers and one which can be seen in glossy modern living magazines around the world. There are a few ways this can be achieved successfully in the UK and the landscaped garden above in Amersham is an example of this. Firstly the use of large glass sliding doors enable both a visual and a physical transition from the open plan kitchen and dining area to the garden. The second is the matching of materials here Mr Rouse had a 600x600mm porcelain tile throughout the ground floor of the house. I instantly knew what look he wanted and set about trying to match the tiles with an external grade tile.
After some searching I did find some external tiles which were not a bad match however they seemed extremely expensive! I did have a few doubts as to the suitability of external tiles in general in the UK and this was probably why there is not extensive suppliers in Britain. One of my main concerns was grip. in order to match the internal tiles with any similarity the maximum texture would be a external egg shell finish. The problem with this is they are slightly porous which opens the possibility of algae blooms and eventual black stains from rain water run off from the roof. Water absorption can lead to cracking in very cold winters especially at 12 mm thickness and as most landscaped gardens in Buckinghamshire are either reasonably rural or at a slightly higher elevation hence more chance of freezing conditions. One of my other concerns with external tiling is it requires a thick concrete base which is not a problem but there is always the possibility of cracking especially if a neighbour plants a tree within a few meters or a large tree species nearby keeps growing creating forces in the ground.
After some extra research I came upon a 600 mm slab called a Manhattan. This porcelain aggregate paving slab with a more durable 30 mm thickness and beautifully clean aesthetics meant I was much happier with the patio medium which was slightly brighter than the internal tiles but still a good match. The client loved the slab but they were over budget at £75.00 per squared meter they were not cheap but the client allowed for them as they were the best option and were good value. Some of the advantages of the slab was there color relied on a porcelain aggregate which is very durable and will not loose its color. The slabs have been sealed with a robust sealant meaning no dirt or substances can stain them. At the same time the texture of the aggregate means they are nonslip which with the external tiles was not guaranteed. Although the Manhatton paving is expensive it can create a fantastic modern effect to most landscaped gardens especially linking pale internal tiles to the outside.
The paving was laid with 8mm spacers to give a tile effect with a white dye in the mortar for a cream joint. Due to the clean simplicity of the paving the remaining two garden elements the decking and the lawn were easy to integrate into the modern landscaping theme. In further discussion with Mr Rouse I suggested stepping stones in the lawn would create a great effect and help to visually integrate the three garden components. The garden although not typical of a Buckinghamshire landscaped garden has a very contemporary feel and I believe a very successful outcome for the client.
Modern gardens can work but usually this will depend on choice of material, design and the architecture of the building integrating with the landscaping to be completely successful especially in a traditional county such as Buckinghamshire.