Elliot Barratt’s Tips For A Modern Outdoor SpaceLess is more..

21 Apr 2017 by | | with No Comments

21Apr 2017


with No Comments


As a designer I have always insisted on less is more. At Elliot James, we like to begin with a very neutral background and use layering to add interest and depth to a space. We apply the same principles for our outdoor spaces.

I have put together 8 tips when designing a timeless, sleek outdoor space.

1. White and green is a good base for your garden’s colour scheme. For example, use pale limestone paving or gravel to create elegant paths or a patio area to contrast against the green foliage.

2. Paint any rendered or brick walls and fences white. Painted brickwork lends an extra element of texture to the design and offers a lean, sharp backdrop to the planting.

3. Use repeat patterns in your planting layout to hold the garden together. A row of small trees, box bushes, shrubs or ornaments placed at regular intervals gives an order that looks good and has timeless appeal.


4. Create contrast between the simple geometric shapes of lawns and paths and include some loose, wild planting spilling out of the flowerbeds.

5. Modern designs are fairly pared-back, so it’s best to avoid fads – Have clear reasons for everything you include.

6. For ornaments and furniture, natural materials provide another contrast to the immaculate planting patterns and the crisp, white surfaces. Options include a driftwood bench, or even a well-worn trough. For that very contemporary look, we like to use metallics that can weather and change colour over time.


7. If you’re working with small spaces, using mirrors on walls behind the planting always helps to give an impression of increased depth and width of a space. This also helps to give an impression of more planting when on a more modest budget.

8. Lighting is absolutely essential for contemporary gardens. Good lighting is always about what you light, rather than the light fixture. Focus spotlights on elements such as pillars, textured brickwork or the repeated patterns of planting to emphasise the design. Well-placed lighters always add a little drama to the garden area.


By Elliot Barratt
Elliot Barratt is the Managing Director of Elliot James Interiors. He appeared as a Guest Mentor & Judge on The Apartment: Rising Stars Edition.
Find out more: Elliot James Interiors