4 Key Ingredients for a Modern Farmhouse Outdoor Retreat

By Aslin Suparak Gibson of Houzz

Bring home the modern farmhouse aesthetic by adding bold neutrals, wood, gravel and sculptural trees to create a modern-rustic ambiance in your outdoor space. This tasting menu of design ideas will help bring the sophistication of modern architecture and the cozy comfort of the countryside to your garden.

Bistro and Pub Table Sets for Your Personal Retreat
Start With a Tasting Menu of Textures

Clean lines and organic textures are a signature feature of the modern farmhouse aesthetic. A mixture of wood, metal and concrete creates the design flavor of this St. Helena, California, home. The home’s strong neutrals — the gray, white and natural stone — create a warm and welcoming space as well as an elegant backdrop for the minimalist landscape. The fence is framed by black stained cedar posts with copper-colored oxidized metal wine cave mesh.

In contrast, this farmhouse also has wood, concrete and metal, but they’re blended into a different visual bouquet. The rusted steel orbs accentuate the clean expanse of gravel and minimalist lines of the modern home and barn architecture.

To re-create this visual tasting menu of wood, metal and concrete, try adding a rusted metal accent, like the fire pit shown here. Add the clean white lines of a few modern chairs and a smooth surface of gravel, and you’ll have a garden space reminiscent of an outdoor wine-tasting room in Napa.

At night this same space is transformed into a luxurious open-air dining room with just a few cafe lights strung between trees. Just add a simple wooden bench and chairs to make your own romantic getaway.

Relax in Style With New Outdoor Lounge Chairs
Add Smoky Undertones With Dark Wood

Black is a crisp, dramatic color that grounds a space and creates a contemporary backdrop, highlighting the lines of the home and the structure of neighboring plants. Smoky stained wood makes for a sophisticated facade for this farmhouse, which we also saw in the first photo.

Get this look by borrowing the technique homeowner and designer David Devan used. He applied Eco Wood Treatment, a preservative that protects the wood siding from aging but also creates an aged appearance. Following that, he applied a mixture of two transparent stains (one brown and one black) so that the cedar grain would shine through.

Another way to create a smoky wood effect is by using a process called yakisugi-ita (also called shou-sugi-ban). This Japanese artisan process is a natural way of sealing wood by burning it. The result is beautiful wood that is resistant to fire, rot and pests.

Dark wood helps to fashion a spa-like space in this modern backyard. Notice how the dark wood fence and pergola contribute to the contemporary silhouette. The black wood creates a Zen-like garden corner while accentuating the calming textures of the nearby foliage.

You can also give your home’s gates or fences a textured wood treatment. Our backyard has a hodgepodge of fence styles, since we share our boundary with four different households. Our solution was to stain the fence black to give us a more uniform, cohesive look in our garden retreat.

Add Light, Bright Notes With Gravel

Nothing says modern farmhouse retreat like a wide expanse of golden gravel. The crunch of warmed gravel underfoot is reminiscent of sunny vineyards and warm summer breezes.

Gravel is a great way to quickly clean up open spaces in a yard in a way that makes walkways and outdoor rooms look unified.

Try laying down a layer of gravel to design a small retreat of your own. Add a bistro table and chairs and a cheese plate and wine, and you’ll have a sweet little retreat on your property.

Even a small corner with gravel, a few well-placed lounging chairs and a palette of cool gray, black and rust colors can be a little hideaway.

Designer Landscape Ideas to Bring Home
Go for a Strong Finish With Sculptural Trees and Shrubs

Sculptural trees are the sentinels of the Italian countryside and California’s wine country. The silvery-blue foliage of olive trees is the perfect complement to the golden hills of California’s wine country.

To get this look, plant a canopy of trees that frame an entrance or a walkway. You can also use trees with twisted, sculptural trunks to frame a focal point, such as a fountain or seating area.

Placing smaller bushes in raised containers also creates a similar effect in a smaller footprint and without having to wait for trees to mature.

Even one lone tree can make for a meditative corner.

Here’s to designing a sweet staycation space for yourself this summer.

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