6 Plants to Give Your Backyard Space a Modern Upgrade

Lawn Starter | David Wheeler

Creating a modern backyard space is easy to do with a combination of the right furnishings, proper lawn care practices, and carefully chosen plants. Plants are an essential part of making your backyard into a stylish oasis that brings comfort and peace. Check out these 6 plants that you can add to your backyard space for a luxe modern upgrade:


There is something very chic and iconic about a yucca plant in a tall planter by itself. Put a few of these planters together in a row and your backyard will be instantly transformed into a modern oasis. Yucca has stiff leaves that are green with yellow edging. There are multiple variations from this standard coloring and any combination would do in a contemporary backyard. The vertical array of beauty that a yucca plant creates is both a nod to living plants as well as living sculptures. Yucca is also a great choice for xeriscaping as it doesn’t need much watering or maintenance, making it an even better choice for a modern but functional garden.

Blue Arrow Juniper

The common theme for modern plants is a tall vertical height and this plant exceeds in that department. The Blue Arrow Juniper has muted blue evergreen leaves that travel high into the sky with the possibility of becoming 12-15 feet tall. The leaves of this shrub are narrow and tight making it a great option for use as a privacy barrier. The Blue Arrow Juniper also produces silver blueberries for much of the year, giving it even more interest for a modern backyard.

Red-Hot Poker

This unique looking plant is great for small backyards as it grows vertically instead of spreading. Red-Hot Pokers display mostly red tinted cone shaped foliage on top of long stems that can often have a yellow hue. Other variations of this modern plant include shades of orange, cream, and pinks. The Red-Hot Poker is great to use in a corner of a contemporary garden or among other plants in a garden scape. You only need a few of these plants in order to be a showstopper in a stylish, luxe backyard.


This plant from the succulent family is a beauty in its unique geometric shape. Aeoniums aren’t flashy in their coloring but do offer a peaceful hue to light yellow to light green. The tightly wound leaves of the plant offer a subtle focal point in any garden and would do well in a shallow pot on an outdoor dining table. With its succulent roots, aeoniums are a great low maintenance choice for modern gardeners as they don’t require as much water as other plants.


This beautiful and modern plant is the most popular ornamental grass in the world. It is a great addition to a modern backyard in that it can easily fill up a space with its size while still being a beautiful plant all year long. Calamagrostis blooms with beautiful flowers that end up turning to seed heads that look almost like wheat. This taupe colored plant is perfect for your autumn landscaping when you still want to use your outdoor space as temperatures cool down. The feathery look of this modern plant helps to create texture and richness to a garden as well.


This beautiful plant is a great contrast to most modern plants that are low on diverse color. Lavender will not only provide a beautiful hint of purple to your garden but will provide guests with a pleasing scent and keep away bugs. These plants can get rather large so spread out plantings in a row in order to have enough space for them to mature. Lavender also attracts pollinators like bees and hummingbirds so place it in an area that is farther off from gathering spaces in order to appreciate its beauty while also giving those important pollinators some space.

Investing the time and effort to create a modern backyard will not only impress guests but can also dramatically increase a home’s value. Consider adding some of these modern variations to your backyard, as well as subtle hints of color, in order to instantly create a polished and sophisticated look.

David Wheeler is a landscape design writer and nature enthusiast. He is an avid traveller and loves to spend his time hiking and strolling through magnificent gardens, learning about rare and native flowers across the world.


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