Planting design for a modern, newly renovated home

planting design concept visual inside out

THE BRIEF Our client had recently moved into her new home and was looking for a contemporary and modern planting scheme. Having invested in a transformation of the interior and complete landscape renovation, she was keen that the garden’s planting should match the minimalist palette of her home’s interiors. Floor to ceiling windows at the back of the house overlook the garden all year round.  As the family aren’t keen gardeners, planting needed to be low-maintenance and offer four-season interest.

THE CONCEPT Melissa Morton Garden Design team began by researching low-maintenance plants that would thrive across the various growing conditions of the garden’s stepped terraces, to create a strong, repeating theme that unified the whole. In line with the client’s personal “less is more” style, we relied on a variety of shapes and textures to create visual interest, while limiting the colour scheme of any flowers to white with simple splashes of blue.


  • The sunken garden: the lower terrace has borders in part shade and part sun.  This area is to be used in summer from late afternoon to evening for relaxation in the sun and socialising. Planting selection includes groups of bold hydrangeas with underplanting of liriope/ophiopogon and evergreen ferns.  A pair of Amelanchier trees frame a new water feature. Plants for shadier areas include Choisya, Prunus ‘Otto Luyken’ and Fatsia
  • The mid terrace: this is a permanent vista all year as it is viewed from the kitchen.  It has access to a garden room for entertaining, and an undercover patio. The planting  is the be clipped cubes of evergreen Euonymus ‘Green Rocket’ and pockets of seasonal bulbs.  The plants selection needs to establish well under the demands of the existing large topiary lime trees, providing ground cover to reduce maintenance, whilst looking good all year.
  • The top terrace: viewed all year round from living room has borders in shade and full sun with existing planting to complement. Planting is varied for the different zones, but unified with repeat planting. Plants include repeated hydrangeas, Taxus domes and a pair of Phormium. Ground cover – pachysandra & liriope. Seasonal theme plants – Anemone x hybrids & Libertia. A pair of Amelanchier to frame a second water feature.
  • The front garden – areas included screening for high stone walls, borders in front of the house, and specimen planting within lawn and a border along the drive for kerbside appeal. A theme of repeated forms of bold beehives of green Taxus topiary with cubes of purple foliage beech cubes.  Specimen Acer trees selected.