Are Portland Landscapes Getting More Modern?

by Ben Bowen

Modern Landscaping In Portland?

Clean, sleek, sophisticated. This not how I would describe a typical Portland landscape. Our gardens are lush and rowdy. Plants dominate. Portland is full of gorgeous gardens- but very few modern ones.

Is that changing? Is Portland on the cusp of embracing a more modern landscape design aesthetic?

I think so, for a couple reasons:

People. Portland is expecting to grow for years to come. Many of the new Portlanders will be young and work for tech, shoe, or the entertainment industry. Is this group going to fall in step and plant the next generation of rhodie and azalea dominated gardens? Nope. Contemporary landscape design will be the norm.

Water. Water use has become a major consideration for many of our clients. Low-water use gardens can look like this, but many people are more comfortable with them looking like this. It may not be enough for a landscape to be water wise, it needs to look water wise.

Maintenance. Portland has too many good restaurants for us to be spending time pulling weeds and mowing grass. Modern landscapes utilize hardscape, mass plantings, and minimalism to keep maintenance to a minimum.

Currently there is trickle of modern landscape elements making it's way into our neighborhoods. In the next decade I think we can expect a flood of Corten steel, decomposed granite, poured concrete walls, and upright ornamental grasses. 

What do you think? Is the modern landscape appropriate for Portland's older neighborhoods? 

portland oregon modern landscape design
modern portland front yard