My home and garden are just about the furthest thing from modern you can get. I live in a quintessential Cape Cod–style house, and the swirling landscape around it is an overflowing tangle of blousy plants. If you needed a picture of what the opposite of modern was, you’d head over to my place with a camera.
Yet I’ve spent my fair share of time in modern gardens over the years, and I simply love them. There is something stunning in their clean lines and carefully curated plant palettes. As designer Dave Demers says in his article Modern Details Can Make the Difference, “A modern garden says it all in one look, and says it loud and clear.”
Some of you may immediately dismiss this issue’s cover story on modern gardens because you think modern design is too far outside your comfort zone and garden aesthetic. At first, I was right there with you. Despite my love of other people’s modern gardens, I never wanted to incorporate modern design into my own gardens. But as I worked on this feature, I came to realize that my very New England garden might benefit from some modern editing. Late last year I grabbed my rabbiting spade and re-edged a bed on the side of my house, straightening the once-curved line. The change was immediate and amazing. The plants suddenly seemed more orderly, and the sight line from every angle became clear and concise. This convinced me over the next few months to adopt a few more modern principles outlined by Dave in his article, and my garden is better for it.
Not every gardener may be comfortable embracing as many modern details as I did. But I hope after reading through this issue you’ll see there is a benefit to infusing even just a dash of modernism. And, rest assured, it can be done without the risk of turning your landscape into the courtyard at MOMA.
—Danielle Sherry, executive editor