16 ultimate modern garden ideas

Need some modern garden ideas? From outdoor kitchens to garden lighting, we’ve got plenty

Modern garden ideas: a paved garden with light blue painted raised planters and pergola, hexagonal paving, a grey mesh chair and footstool and light grey slatted fence
(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

Looking for modern garden ideas? Whether you’re embarking on a full garden redesign, complete with landscaping and a lengthy trip to a garden centre for a new plant border, or you’re simply looking for a few quick updates on a budget, we can help. From outdoor living rooms, kitchens and even cinemas to colour schemes and garden lighting, we’ve collected the best modern garden ideas out there so you have all the inspiration you need in one place.

Take a look at our ideas below – there’s sure to be something that sparks your creativity.  

1. Split your garden into levels

Modern garden ideas: a decked garden on two levels with grey painted raised planters and natural stained wooden flooring, leading into an open-plan kitchen

(Image credit: Jemma Watts © Future)

If you’re undertaking a complete landscaping of your garden, consider adding split levels. Not only does it solve the issues of a sloping plot, it also helps to create zones – think cooking and dining, a more informal seating area, and a play area with a lawn for kids.

Modern garden ideas: kitchen extension leading flush onto patio with modern paving

(Image credit: Darren Chung © Future)

Your garden is an extension of your home, so make the two work together by emphasising the link between outdoors and in. If you’ve extended, sliding or bi-fold doors help open your house to the garden, but there are other tricks you can use, too. Try using similar tiles on your patio area as you have in the room the other side of the doors, invest in some quality furniture to create seating areas, and add fun accessories like cushions and throws for a homely feel.

3. Choose contemporary flooring...

Modern garden ideas: large format light coloured Everscape tiles

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

Your patio floor makes all the difference to your garden, so invest in a sleek design like these gorgeous tiles from Topps Tiles, which have a pared-back minimalist feel for instant cool. Patterned tiles work equally well – they lend a Moroccan feel to a garden and have the added benefit of creating an ‘outdoor room’ feel to a space.

4. … and experiment with contemporary styles

Modern garden ideas: long plank stone paving with gravel surround

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies © Future)

Play around with the layout of your tiles to create a design that’s interesting to the eye. The above garden makes use of natural stone plank paving and gravel chippings to create a pathway to the bottom of the garden, interspersed with grasses for texture.

5. Use a pergola for shaded zones

Modern garden ideas: a paved garden with light blue painted raised planters and pergola, hexagonal paving, a grey mesh chair and footstool and light grey slatted fence

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

Structures like pergolas add welcome shade to a sunny south-facing garden, but they’re also useful for zoning outdoor spaces. Use one to define your seating or dining area – you can even build one yourself using an online guide if you have a little DIY know-how.

6. Cook alfresco with an outdoor kitchen

Modern garden ideas: grey outdoor kitchen with patterned tile splashback

(Image credit: Jemma Watts © Future)

Are you a keen cook? Love a barbecue come summer? Then an outdoor kitchen could be worth including in your garden design. Whether you opt for a modular design or a more bespoke build, you can tailor the kitchen to your needs and budget with ease. There are some essentials, though: you’ll need something to cook with (a barbecue or pizza oven), a workspace for prep (Ikea do a great range of outdoor trolleys) and, if you can, some storage space for outdoor crockery and cooking tools. Any extras, from kitchen shelving to a sink with running water, are up to you.

7. Eat in style with an outdoor dining area

Modern garden ideas: dining area with festoon lights hanging overhead

(Image credit: Lights 4 Fun)

Whether you’re including a cooking area in your design or not, an outdoor dining space is a lovely addition for sunny summer days. This setup from Lights 4 Fun has rustic charm, and we love the addition of string lanterns for mood lighting. If you’re likely to invite guests over, having a set of outdoor tableware can elevate a meal in the garden to dinner party status.

8. Make a feature of your shed

Modern garden ideas: green painted shed with decked area and white chairs outside

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

A shed is a non-negotiable for anyone who loves gardening, whether it’s for keeping your collection of garden tools or storing your beloved deck chairs come winter. Make a feature of yours by giving it an upgrade. A lick of paint can do wonders for a shed in relatively good condition, and a few additions, like a wall light or some new decking, can turn an everyday item into something special.

9. Opt for sleek and stylish furniture

Modern garden ideas: rope outdoor dining set

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Garden furniture is as important for a modern scheme as the planting and the paving, so choose wisely if you’re investing in a new dining or seating set. Timber is a timeless classic, but we love a sleek steel design for a contemporary look. This dining set from Dobbies is an example of how even the most modern furniture can work well in a more traditional garden setting, so don’t be afraid to mix up your styles if you've spotted something you love.

10. Keep your cool with a white scheme…

Modern garden ideas: patio with white paving, fence and rope chairs

(Image credit: Tom Scott)

Channel the Mediterranean with a white palette in your garden. This design combines white tiles and painted fencing with plenty of lush green climbing plants for a bright and sunny finish, and the set of rope chairs sets the whole thing off with serious holiday vibes. Just be sure to add in plenty of greenery to avoid the space looking too clinical.

11. … or add texture with rustic touches

Modern garden ideas: boho-inspired garden from Theresa Gromski

(Image credit: Theresa Gromski)

If you like a lived-in feel to your garden, you might prefer to inject rustic colours and textures to your space. This design from Instagram interiors guru @theresa_gromski plays on a boho vibe, complete with decking and seating built from reclaimed scaffold boards and raised beds made with railway sleepers. Rattan furniture, string lighting and black fence paint completes the look.

12. Make space with a garden room

Modern garden ideas: wood-clad sunken garden room with Crittal-style glazing

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

A garden room can be a viable and cost-effective alternative to an extension or loft conversion, especially as a home office or hobby space (think an at-home yoga studio or craft room – bliss!). With a wealth of designs available at every price point, it’s easier than ever to create a sanctuary at the bottom of your garden. This architect-designed build makes use of timber cladding and a sunken position for ‘cabin in the woods’ vibes.

13. Create a children’s area

Modern garden ideas:

(Image credit: Dobbies)

If you have little ones, be sure to make space for their hobbies in your garden. You could create a little seating area, set up a play kitchen or buy them their own set of mini tools – if they can’t actually help, at least they’ll look adorable trying.

14. Grow your own with contemporary veg planters

Modern garden ideas: raised vegetable planters painted in light blue

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

As more of us aim to be more sustainable, we’re increasingly looking for ways to grow our own fruit and vegetables in the confines of our gardens. If you don’t have space for a full-blown vegetable plot, let this stylish raised vegetable bed inspire you instead. While you can buy similar planters online, they’re also easy to make yourself using reclaimed scaffold boards or other recycled wood.

15. Use carefully considered lighting

Modern garden ideas: outdoor sofa, rug and coffee table with string lights and lanterns

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

The finishing touches make as much of an impact as anything else in a garden, so give as much thought and attention to things like lighting and accessories as you do layout and planting. John Lewis & Partners has elevated this outdoor living room with a mix of lighting to set the mood, including string lights and table lamps. Think about lighting up key plants or trees for an instant feature, too, as well as any paths and key living areas.

16. Chill out with an outdoor cinema

Modern garden ideas: outdoor cinema with screen against fence

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

It’s not an all-seasons solution, but an outdoor cinema can be a real luxury in the warmer months while the evenings are still balmy (or at least bearable). Portable indoor-outdoor projectors are available at all price points, so investing in one – along with a screen – is a great idea if you enjoy film nights with family or friends. Add some picnic blankets and a cushion or two and you’ve got yourself a free evening out – popcorn at the ready!

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