Known for his novel approach of blending contemporary aesthetics with natural elements, Residential Landscape Designer Eric Hagberg shares some of his insider secrets to creating award-winning modern landscape designs.

Eric has won four National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) awards for his modern landscape designs since joining Dennis’ 7 Dees in 2013. In 2023, his project “Modern Poolside Retreat” won a NALP Silver award, and his project “Holt Residence” won a NALP Gold award.

Modern Poolside Retreat

Holt Residence

Can you describe your view of modern landscape design?

“In modern design, the simplest solution often is the best. With modern landscape design, there is an element of wanting to take natural, rough, and irregular elements like stone and plants and make them orderly. It blends the human instinct to create order with nature’s tendency to be chaotic, and that is a fun challenge to play with. I think I like it so much because, in its own way, it is almost too easy, yet the outcome is always so wonderful!”

residential landscaping portland home fence and paver path by Dennis' 7 Dees
mulch stone gravel walkway in backyard by Dennis' 7 Dees

How do you approach a new landscape project?

“My first step is to begin to think about traffic flow and connection between spaces. Before I start to narrow down any details or shapes, I begin to arrange the different pieces of the landscape roughly until their placement makes sense from the perspective of how one would travel through the landscape, both physically and visually. This can be a bit challenging, and sometimes means needing to reduce or eliminate certain elements if there just isn’t room for everything to fit functionally. Once the function of the space works, the form follows much more easily.”

residential landscaping portland home paved driveway
residential landscaping portland home fence and paver path by Dennis' 7 Dees

What are your top tips and tricks for designing modern-style landscapes?

“1. Start simple. It’s best to not get too complicated with patterns or incorporate too much variety in either color or texture.

2. Shape up. Use basic, simple geometry with built elements like squares, rectangles, and circles.

3. Be bold! You can layer in dramatic and bold elements with either plants or hardscapes by using shapes, sizes, and textures.

4. Find balance. Juxtaposition between hard and soft elements works well when you have a clear direction.

5. Keep it clean. Revisit your plan to make sure you’re being as clean as possible with clear definition.”

What are your favorite plants to incorporate into modern landscape designs?

“I love using ornamental grasses like Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass) and Pennisetum (Fountain Grass). I’m also a big fan of simple broadleaf evergreens such as Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) and Sarcococca (Sweet Box).”

Paved concrete stairs and planters by Dennis' 7 Dees Landscaping

Interested in working with Eric to create your dream modern landscape? Fill out the form below to get the process started! If modern landscapes aren’t your preferred style, be sure to check out our robust portfolio of other inspirational landscape designs.

We have a talented team of designers throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington who can bring your unique landscaping ideas to life, no matter your aesthetic! Each Dennis’ 7 Dees designer has the skills to create stunning modern landscape designs as well as many other styles, including Bohemian, Traditional, Pacific Northwest Zen, Cottage, Mediterranean, and more.

Not ready to start your project, but looking for inspiration? Download our Modern Landscape Design Guide for garden design tips, plant selection, color palettes, and more!

Request a Residential Landscape Design Consultation With Eric

Complete the form below to request your FREE consultation with Eric Hagberg! Please note—we have a $1500 minimum for new landscaping projects; schedule depends on availability.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This