If you haven’t heard, barndominiums are the new darlings of the real estate world. They’re the perfect blend of form and function, and they bring a new style of architecture to the staid world of boxy homes.
And whether you just bought a barndominium or aspire to do so—you’ve probably at least started to consider how you might go about landscaping around one. Because of its unique design, this nontraditional home also calls for a different kind of gardening—casual, understated, and natural.
We spoke with several gardening experts who filled us in on the essential do’s and don’ts of landscaping around a barndominium. Here are their best tips for designing an outdoor space that enhances the charm of your rustic-chic home.
Do: Plant hearty natives
One of the first things to consider when mapping out the landscape around your barndominium is the kinds of plants you’ll use. For this, Bryan Clayton of GreenPal has a few suggestions.
“The rustic nature of barndominiums resonates with native, hearty plants,” says Clayton. “Imagine walking through a path lined with wild roses or native grasses—enchanting.”
Wildflowers, subdued ornamentals like irises, and lush decorative grasses will all work well to give your space that elevated lived-in feeling.
Do: Stick to natural materials
When it comes to deciding which elements to draw into your landscaping—beyond plants, that is—the rule is clear: Turn to nature.
“Based on the results of my designs, using reclaimed materials and sticking with earthy colors adds an authentic touch and embraces the property’s inherent charm,” says Clayton.
Blending contemporary features is fine, as long as they can play into the overall rustic harmony of your design. For example, opt for a stone birdbath rather than a brightly colored glass one, and choose benches or raised planters in a soft finish that complements the home’s exterior.
Do: Create seamless transitions
Creating a seamless transition between spaces is solid landscaping advice in any yard. But it’s especially true when you want the home to look like part of the environment, as with a rustic barndominium.
“Elements like gravel patches and stone walkways will add to the rural atmosphere,” says Reesav Niraula of Plants Craze.
You’ll also want to consider what happens between the gardens and the rest of the property. Consider subtly fanning out your flower beds into lush native grasses or a pollinator field.
While traditional gardens call for hard edges and borders—barndominium landscapes are all about creating manicured spaces that look and feel natural.
Don’t: Overdo it
Now that you know what you should be doing in your barndominium garden, let’s go over some mistakes to avoid.
“The secret to success is to avoid overcomplicating things,” says Clayton.
Too many kitschy farmhouse elements—like rusty wheels, vintage farming equipment, and red wagons—fall into the overly complicated category. A few of these items are fine; but overall, the idea is to keep it simple.
Don’t: Forget to plan around the architecture
Barndominiums are shaped differently than typical homes. That lends to their charm—but they also require a bit of extra planning when it comes to landscaping.
“A number of architectural features—like higher angle roofs—really set [them] apart,” says Clayton. A higher angled roof can mean a number of things depending on where you live—including increased shade on some garden beds or even increased snowfall piling up in one spot.
“Drainage can also be a concern,” says Niraula. “The shape of the roof can cause major problems with water.”
One of those issues is your garden or outdoor dining area flooding after a big storm.
That’s why it’s a good idea to either spend some time living in the home before planning your landscape, or hire a landscaping professional who can ward off any problems before they start.
Don’t: Go too formal
With modern homes, it can be tempting to create an overly formal landscape, one where everything has its place and you won’t find a single flower out of line. But barndominiums don’t lend themselves well to that style of planning, and here’s why.
“Another problem is that overly intricate or excessively formal designs could compete with the barndominium’s understated charm,” says Niraula.
It will also look completely out of place, like the person managing the garden and the one living in the house aren’t on the same page.
Remember: Barndominiums are supposed to be rustic and comfortable, and the landscape should reflect this.