This Color-Packed Poolside is a Maximalist Summer Dream

the janie molster–designed poolside lounge in a variety of pink florals and stripes at the 2022 kips bay show house 2022 © nickolas sargent
Maximalist Gardens Are Here For SummerNickolas Sargent

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At House Beautiful, we’ve long believed in treating outdoor space like an extension of the home. That means making smart use of your square footage (especially in small spaces), dedicating outdoor zones to activities you love (from gardening to picnicking to entertaining), and of course furnishing the backyard with the same level of comfort and style as the living room. It stands to reason, then, that some of our favorite interior design styles also extend to the outdoors. A borrowed-from-the-indoors garden style that seems to be having a moment now—one that we hope will last forever—is maximalism. With its exuberant use of color and lush layering of patterns, maximalism might just be the easiest aesthetic to transfer from the living room to the lawn. Want proof? Read on for sensational examples of maximalist gardens in breathtaking interpretations from tropical to tonal, and everything in between. Adopt any of these elements seen in the famed gardens below to bring a bit of maximalism to your yard.

Varying Heights

For Virginia’s 90th annual Historic Garden Week, celebrated last month, visitors explored gardens across the state in styles ranging from formal to woodland. One standout is the Victorian-style Grace Arents Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, where a careful arrangement of flowers in a wide range of heights and colors makes for a varied textural display.

the grace arents garden at the lewis ginter botanical garden
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Rainbow Brights

In the gardens at Oak Spring, the Upperville, Virginia, country house of acclaimed horticulturalist Bunny Mellon, an explosion of tulips in every hue create a jubilant sea of color against the whitewashed stone of the famous basket house.

oak spring garden
Hadley Keller

Mini Maximalism

You don't need a large lot to create a maximalist garden. In another corner of Oak Spring, an arrangement of antique planters filled with flowers of different heights create textural impact in a small space. The best part? A potted garden like this is completely portable, so you can move it around your patio (or even indoors) depending on the weather or occasion.

a portable potted garden at oak spring in upperville, virginia
Georgiana Watt

Overgrown On Purpose

In the typically English gardens of Gloucestershire’s Hidcote Manor, overgrown bushes and climbing vines give the feel of an enchanted forest—without the upkeep of individual flower bulbs.

hidcote manor gardens
Eric Gilbert - Getty Images

Advanced Geometry

For an alfresco take on pattern play, consider a formal garden with a complex boxwood pattern, like the parterre at Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland, England.

the parterre garden at seaton delaval hall in northumberland, england
Getty Images

Timeless Trellis

Indoors and out, trellises are making a comeback—and we couldn’t be happier. The latticed structural element is the perfect way to add a dynamic pattern to your garden and provide space for more climbing growth, like the voluminous English grandiflora roses landscape designer Ed Hollander incorporated here.

backyard rose garden
Charles Mayer

Visual Feast

Maximalist gardens can be a feast for more than the eyes. Turn your outdoor space into a kitchen garden for added interest. Cabbages, tomatoes, eggplants, squash, berries, and peas add color, while leafy lettuces and herbs bring texture. Raised beds offer opportunities for a creative layout and patterns, as do tall structures for climbing veggies, like the arbor in Maryline Damour’s garden.

garden with gravel
Maryline Damour

Tented Terrace

A terrace or balcony can go big too: For maximum effect, consider an awning or tent. In this Palm Beach home, Amanda Reynal created an intimate, exuberant retreat off a second-floor bedroom.

amanda reynal covered patio in a palette of yellow and green 2022 kips bay show house palm beach 2022 © nickolas sargent2022 © nickolas sargent
Nickolas Sargent

Poolside Stripes

If a lack of a green thumb (or rental rules) make replanting unrealistic, look to patterned outdoor furniture, umbrellas, and accessories, as Janie Molster did in the pool area of the 2022 Kips Bay Palm Beach showhouse.

the janie molster–designed poolside lounge in a variety of pink florals and stripes at the 2022 kips bay show house 2022 © nickolas sargent
Nickolas Sargent

Circle Games

If you prefer a more playful pattern, create the effect of polka dots using individual boxwoods pruned into spheres, as Dave DeMattei and Patrick Wade did at their Hollywood Hills home.

a creative landscaping idea showing plant beds edged in boxwood hedges and filled with pea gravel and rounded boxwood bushes for an effect that looks like green polka dots
Roger Davies

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