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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Landscaping for mid-century homes

One of the most popular posts on this blog is about authentic mid-century houseplants, which continues to receive hundreds of views each week. Because so many readers find it helpful, I decided it's time to post suggestions from real estate and landscape professionals for making your mid-century home beautifully authentic on the outside. Every Wednesday for the next three weeks, I'll be posting about specific choices of shrubs and trees, perennials and groundcovers. Even if you don't have a yard, many of the plants can be grown in pots on a patio or beside a front door, so there should be something for everyone.

Since California is the birthplace of the mid-century home, who better to get advice from about landscaping first than a California real estate company that knows all about authentic MCM curb appeal?  Renee Adelmann has created a real estate site that  not only lists homes for sale but also gives homeowners tips on landscaping, paint colors, and remodeling.

She has the following tips for authentic mid-century modern landscaping:
  • Allow the geometry of the home to guide the overall design of the landscape & garden 
  • Select water-wise plants that maintain their foliage year-round
  • Allow hardscape elements to carry from the front yard to the back (including the atrium)
  • Repeat the use of certain plants throughout the landscape
  • Consider a water feature 
  • Mix materials to create variety with textures (rock, grass, wood, metal, crushed stone) 
From eichlerforsale.com

eichlerforsale.com
eichlerforsale.com
eichlerforsale.com
eichlerforsale.com

eichlerforsale.com

eichlerforsale.com

pdxsuzanne.com

houzz.com
georgeandeileen.com

seattledreamhomes.com

carcinc.com

strelldesign.com

16 comments:

  1. !!!

    Great examples, as I am going to have mine re-landscaped with a bit more mid-century look. =)

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  2. Now you're just teasing us folks who are buried under many feet of dirty looking snow. Sadly, even when it melts I won't have a yard like any of these homes. That second picture is swoon-worthy.

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  3. @1950sarh: I'm thinking about completely taking out all the grass in my small backyard and doing something similar to the bottom picture, using cast iron plant instead of grasses. The trees in my backyard are so massive that even St. Augustine grass, which is normally a shade-lover, is having a hard time growing. The tree situation is one of the perks and one of the problems with having a house built in the 50s, I guess.

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  4. @Tanya: We may have the landscaping advantage right now (in the 70s today and hitting the 80s by the weekend...from the lower to the upper 20s C to you, I guess), but after your snow is gone, you'll have beautiful weather while all our plants are struggling to survive weeks of weather over 100 degrees (40+ C).

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  5. Such an awesome post Dana! You included beautiful examples.

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  6. @Rhan Vintage: Glad you liked the post...but who are these people who have such beautiful yards??? And why don't they send their landscapers over to do MINE?

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  7. I just found your blog and I LOVE it. I'll be reading every day.

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  8. @bebop-atomic: Welcome! I'm glad you're here, and I look forward to your comments.

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  9. These are lovely! I often wish we weren't surrounded by so many evergreen trees so that I could grow some of these ornamental grasses, but we've got to work with what we've got. Any suggestions for shade-loving modern plants?

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  10. @Trish: My backyard is in deep shade, because I have 60-year-old live oak and pecan trees that are gigantic. Finding something that will grow there has been a real challenge. I've finally found that cast iron plant and holly fern thrive there. Also, I have good luck with any kind of liriope. I'm planning to do some hardscaping with concrete, boulders and rocks, and I think I can work those plants into a mid-century design.

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  11. These designs are so gorgeous. Hostas may not be the first choice for a mdm landscape design but they thrive in shady areas and there are so many different varieties. I have yet to tackle the outdoors. I have a 50 foot hickory tree that produces delicious nuts and millions of nut husks. Talk about a landscaping nightmare! The squirrels are happy though. My brother is a pretty snazzy welder and I've designed some metal tree sculptures that we are going to tackle when the weather warms up.

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  12. @Krazy4Mod: Would you believe that I've even had trouble growing hostas in my back yard? I thought they'd grow in the deepest shade, but they don't here. I sometimes wonder if the squirrels are nibbling them...along with eating up all my pecans!

    I can't wait to see pictures of your metal sculptures. That sounds like such a great idea.

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  13. i m so drooling over every pic..its a dream for sure to own and live in such homes :)

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  14. @Sudha: Yes, indeed...but some days, I'd just settle for that talented a landscaper!

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  15. Dear Dana, thanks so much for your post. I am looking for the names of actual plants available and readily used by post-war architects and landscape architects. Might you know of any good sources for such real-time choices. Thank you, barbara lamprecht, m.arch.

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    1. I'd start by researching Garrett Eckbo and reading his book Landscaping for Life.

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