You've declared your love of modern farmhouse decor with a white kitchen replete with exposed beams and requisite apron sink, of course. You added shiplap to various walls and even installed a sliding barn door. But when it comes to your landscaping, how do you translate the clean, yet welcoming, aesthetic that makes farmhouse style so appealing? Naturally, you want your outdoor space to reflect the same farmhouse flair of your interior by creating a relaxed mood that enhances your home's architecture without distracting from it.
But there's a lot that goes into landscape design, particularly if you're looking to achieve a certain aesthetic and do a soup-to-nuts overhaul that includes hardscaping, plant selection, and outdoor space planning. If you aren't well versed in all things related to landscaping, and you have the budget, hiring a professional can save you money in the long run. And they can also help you understand all of your budget allocations, including the less enticing, but equally important line items like irrigation, drainage, and soil. Of course, yards come in a range of sizes, and the costs greatly depend on the size of the area, your individual needs, and location. For a rough estimate, the American Society of Landscape Architects suggests starting with five to 10% of your home's worth. But the good news is that an attractive landscape design can not only up curb appeal, but it can increase the value of your home by as much as 15%.
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Luckily, farmhouse design's inherently casual vibe calls for simple landscaping with free-flowing greenery. Front and back yard designs typically bring together casual plantings with a more manicured and minimal aesthetic — typically associated with modern dwellings — for a look that's pulled together, but not uptight. Last but not least, throw in a soft color palette that calls to mind the mellow hues often used in farmhouse interiors — yellows, whites, purples. Here are 12 things homeowners should consider when designing a modern farmhouse oasis.
1. Add a fire pit.
Anchor your modern farmhouse landscaping with a fire source — be it a galvanized metal pit or a freestanding fireplace — and then add character and personalize the area around it with vintage-inspired seating. It's a great way to provide literal and figurative warmth. Plus, it will function as a jumping-off point from which to build the rest of your outdoor scheme.
Get the look: Crate & Barrel Tremont Firepit, $499
2. Plant low-maintenance shrubs.
The inherently informal quality of farmhouse landscaping is prime for low-maintenance shrubs that require minimal pruning. Maximize their impact by grouping them together. On their own, yucca plants might get lost, but when clustered together, they're eye-catching and make a statement. Pro tip: Research what plant life is native to your region.
3. Include a worn wood detail.
If you take gardening seriously and troll Pinterest looking at potting shed ideas, a rustic potter's bench could be the ultimate addition to your backyard makeover. For that quintessential farmhouse feel, look for a rustic version in reclaimed wood or with weathered paint, and plenty of shelves for storing pots, gardening tools, and plants.
Get the look: Lee Display Seasonals Potting Table, $1,200 - $1,250
4. Be creative with containers.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a lot of space to cultivate a garden. Raised beds come in a variety of shapes and materials (corten steel adds character and modern notes while wood has an appealing rustic quality), and offer a practical and attractive solution to space constraints. Buy one off-the-shelf or if you're looking for a project, DIY your very own; then fill with seasonal fruits, veggies, or flowers.
Get the look: Miracle-Gro Cedar Raised Garden Bed, $59.66
5. Keep it simple.
Create a farmhouse vibe in an urban dwelling with edited furniture and home decor, minimal plantings, and creativity. This practical setup uses a few hardworking timeless elements such as gravel, vines, and wood for a visually uncluttered look that's sparse yet warm. A raised platform functions as a focal point while unmanicured trees and hedges add a bit of color and soften the look.
6. Chill out in the shade.
You can't rush mother nature, but mature trees add a sense of history and character to any farmhouse landscape. If you're lucky enough to have one or more, highlight the area around them with some soft grass and native plants for a casual deconstructed look, and then create a space to sit and relax by adding low-slung chairs.
Get the look: Pottery Barn Abbott FSC Acacia Woven Lounge Chair, $499
7. Mix and match.
Introduce dimension, a measured dose of color, and a practical way of growing herbs with individual pots. Make a real statement with a collection in differing sizes and shapes, and place them on the edge of a fountain, along a retaining wall, or line them up along a walkway as impromptu edging.
Get the look: Terrain Fiber Concrete Barrel Pot, $20 -$188
8. Spread out.
Play with scale and proportion by interspersing unexpected plantings of various texture, color, and height — this is a great way to break up paths and landings in an expansive farmhouse garden. Consider pairing classics such as hydrangeas with ornamental grasses and drought-tolerant succulents for a free-spirited landscaping idea with a bit of romance.
9. Hang a hammock (or two).
Set up distinct living spaces or "rooms" for dining and lounging, just as you would inside a home, to maximize your farmhouse backyard. Chango & Co. infused lazy weekend vibes in this tranquil spot by suspending side-by-side hammocks (the grown-up answer to the swing) from large trees — all that's missing is a swimming pool. Fear not: If you're into this look, but lack established trees to support a hammock, you can install a set of large posts.
10. Welcome some boxwood.
Sure, boxwood has a traditional bent, but it's also versatile, drought-resistant, and adds interest and texture. In the yard of this modern farmhouse by Katie Hackworth, a white exterior and black front door make a perfect backdrop to showcase oval-shaped shrubs, while evergreen trees balance their tightly clipped edges.
Get the look: Terrain Preserved Boxwood Hanging Globe, $68 - $298
11. Forget concrete.
It's hard to beat a cozy alfresco dining spot, but in lieu of concrete, try gravel, bark, or decomposed granite (DG) as a hardscape. The sandy color adds warmth and a rustic vibe. And bonus: It's also permeable — so unlike concrete, water can seep through, and replenish the water table.
Get the look: CB2 Rex Open Weave Chair, $89.95
12. Include an outdoor kitchen.
If you really want to take your farmhouse backyard to the next level, consider installing an outdoor kitchen that can support all of your al fresco entertaining needs. Tongue and groove cabinet doors and a gooseneck faucet add telltale farmhouse charm while stainless steel appliances and a poured concrete countertop infuse a modern vibe. There's even an integrated compartment that offers seamless storage for chopped wood.
Get the look: WWOO Four Segment Kitchen, starting at $15,235.05