Cutting-Edge Landscape Designers to Check Out

Sculptural gardens and contemporary creations show what’s next in outdoor spaces.

Some outdoor spaces are too innovative, creative and beautiful to simply be called a yard. Breathtaking gardens, entryways, courtyards and poolside retreats are visionary works by the winners of the 2017 American Society of Landscape Architects Awards.

Behind the scenes, designers are using engineering, architecture and construction feats to create beauty in urban settings, rural farms and oceanfront homes. So pause, reflect and find inspiration for your corner of the world.

Oceanfront Home in Chile with Green Roof

Oceanfront Home in Chile with Green Roof

Aloe africana strikes an attractive pose in the planters of an oceanfront home's green roof—one of two—in Chile. Landscape designer C. Stuart Moore elevated the already stunning surroundings with brighter plantings, such as mounds of Sesleria, blue fescue, sedums and echeverias.

Photo by: ASLA/C. Stuart Moore Design

ASLA/C. Stuart Moore Design

Oceanfront settings are gorgeous in themselves, but landscape designer C. Stuart Moore elevated the already stunning surroundings of a new home near Santo Domingo, Chile.

For the green roof — one of two — CSM Design selected brighter plantings, such as mounds of Sesleria, blue fescue, sedums and echeverias. Aloe Africana strikes an attractive pose in the planters.

Contemporary Courtyard with Driftwood, Boulder and Stone

Contemporary Courtyard with Driftwood, Boulder and Stone

A 2-ton granite boulder, old driftwood tree and mosaic of beach stone are signature details in the entry courtyard of a contemporary Mediterranean residence. Landscape designer C. Stuart Moore also selected ferns, sedges and moss for the award-winning space.

Photo by: ASLA/CSM Design

ASLA/CSM Design

When a two-ton granite boulder was discovered on the site, it became a centerpiece of the entry garden with a circular cutout in the roof. Another relic — an old driftwood tree — and a mosaic of beach stone on the walls contribute to the organic nature in the contemporary Mediterranean residence. Ancient plant types, such as ferns, sedges and moss, add a textural carpet.

Contemporary Suburban Courtyard

Contemporary Suburban Courtyard

Contemporary art inspired the design for a private garden in suburban Detroit, Mich. For the modernist space, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture created an outdoor gallery softened by plantings and dappled shade peeking through honey locust trees.

Photo by: ASLA/Marion Brenner/Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture

ASLA/Marion Brenner/Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture

Contemporary art inspired the design for a private garden in suburban Detroit, Mich. For the modernist space, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture created an outdoor gallery softened by plantings and dappled shade peeking through honey locust trees.

The San Francisco-based firm went a step further by creating sculptural elements that “evoke the powerful, emotional qualities of an art gallery in the garden — moving beyond the simple sculpture garden to a space with deeper, more lasting resonance.” The pathways are choreographed to lead people through the sculpture garden and courtyard.

Multi-layered Urban Outdoor Space with Steel, Glass and Plantings

Multi-layered Urban Outdoor Space with Steel, Glass and Plantings

Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture used corten, stone and plantings for this stunning multi-layered outdoor space and garden in San Francisco. Cochran created an entry stairway with corten steel walls, planes of glass and soft plantings.

Photo by: ASLA/Marion Brenner/Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture

ASLA/Marion Brenner/Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture

In San Francisco, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture used corten, stone and plantings for this stunning multi-layered garden. The views didn’t need to be created, with the 9,600-square-foot home already perched on a steep ravine over the Bay Bridge. Cochran created an entry stairway with corten steel walls, planes of glass and soft plantings. As an ASLA judge described it this way: “They made land out of air.”

Rural Contemporary Entry Path and Landscape

Rural Contemporary Entry Path and Landscape

Instead of ripping out native oaks in a California property with rural contemporary design, landscape architect Dave Roche preserved them within the gravel entry path and steps to the home.

Photo by: ASLA/Marion Brenner/Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture

ASLA/Marion Brenner/Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture

Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture’s award-winning work in Sonoma, Calif., puts rural contemporary on display. Natural materials are balanced with clean geometry throughout the 17 acres with little level space. Instead of ripping out native oaks, Dave Roche preserved them within the gravel entry path and steps to the home.

Sculptural elements include a custom concrete fountain made of three pillars designed to mirror the height differences in the homeowner’s adult children. Think of that the next time you’re marking your children’s growth on a homemade chart on a door frame.

Contemporary New England Farm Property

Poolside Contemporary New England Property

One updated section of a 200-acre farm in New England features an infinity pool and lawn terraces by meant for modern living, just outside the contemporary home. Maryann Thompson Architect kept the mature beech, elm and sycamore trees.

Photo by: ASLA/Alan Ward of FALSA/Reed Hilderbrand LLC Landscape Architecture

ASLA/Alan Ward of FALSA/Reed Hilderbrand LLC Landscape Architecture

Plans by Reed Hilderbrand for a rescued New England farm with panoramic views veered toward the unexpected with its contemporary design. For example, one updated section of the 200-acre property features an infinity pool and lawn terraces meant for modern living, just outside the contemporary style, glass-filled home. The firm kept the mature beech, elm and sycamore trees and planted native red oak and tulip trees.

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