A modern minimalist look suits small city courtyards and well-used outdoor living areas.
To achieve this look, avoid clutter. Choose easy-care paved surfaces instead of lawn and add a shade sail or pergola for shade. Invest in a stylish water feature or a bold piece of furniture such as this Philippe Starck sofa.
Low groundcover planting retains a spacious feel. Succulents and tight groundcover plants, such as mondo grass and scleranthus, are ideal lawn substitutes. Accent these with taller plants in exciting shapes and colours. >
This simple low-maintenance courtyard is a pared back palette of concrete and reflective surfaces softened by just four plants; lime green sedum mexicanum, dark aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’, dwarf black flax with taller accents of Cordyline Caruba Black.
A sub-tropical style is perfect for a warm, frost-free garden. If you love the lush dramatic look and don’t like mowing lawns, consider a garden based around water, decking and paving with lots of lush bold foliage studded with accents of vibrant colour.
Ideal plants for this look are palms, cycads, vireya rhododendrons, bougainvillea, bromeliads, frangipani, daylilies, hibiscus, cannas and cordylines. Canna Tropicanna and Tropicanna Gold make wonderful splashes of contrasting colour with huge brightly striped leaves and vibrant summer flowers.
Cordyline Caruba Black is another wonderful accent plant for subtropical gardens, either in a pot or (in a frost-free climate) in mixed garden beds. Add colour accents in pots. Dwarf bougainvilleas (pictured right) are ideal for a bright splash of colour, as are Alstroemeria Rock and Roll and the Flower Carpet roses.
This style of garden suits older homes. Brick or stone pathways, elegant garden seats and pretty wooden gates give a nostalgic touch.
Self-seeding annuals such as alyssum and poppies soften pathways and ensure things don’t become too formal. This style of garden is a favourite with flower lovers and it’s generally thought of as a style for gardeners who like to garden. However, planting free-flowering shrubs as a substitute for annuals can significantly reduce the workload.
For easy colour, plant free-flowering perennials and roses. Modern versions of old-fashioned perennials, such as echinaceas, sedums, African daisies and penstemons, offer longer flowering times and tidier, more compact growth habits.
Here, a classic urn sports Cordyline Red Fountain, its grassy, wine-coloured foliage sparkling in the breeze. Red Fountain makes a great centrepiece, because it looks great from all angles and retains its colour all year round. It is also incredibly tolerant of dry conditions.