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Midcentury Modern Landscape Design

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Mid-Century Modern home owners often have strong ideas about restoring or decorating the home itself- and no idea what to do with the landscape.

The landscapes of the 60's and 70's don't translate well to today's lifestyles and tastes- unless you are in Palm Springs.

And most MCM owners will look at their neighbor's gardens or even designer's portfolios and see little that seems to fit.

I present 5 principles, based on my experience designing outdoor spaces for atomic ranches in Portland, that can help guide you along the way.

It's not a lot, but it should get you started. And hey- it's my first slide, so go easy!

Published in: Design

Midcentury Modern Landscape Design

  1. 1. atomic LANDSCAPES Mid-Century Modern Landscape Design
  2. 2. mcm THEN... When your Eichler or Rummer was a baby, it had a swath of lawn or gravel and some juniper destined to become overgrown.
  3. 3. mcm NOW... There is no distinct MCM landscape style. Many have landscapes without connection to the home. Not horrible, just boring. This landscape could be plopped down in front of any home. MCM gems are not just “any” home.
  4. 4. five KEYS There is not a typical atomic landscape, but there are principles that can guide design. Here are my 5 keys to Mid-Century Modern landscape design: Rummer in SW Portland. A blank slate for this landscape designer.
  5. 5. 1* RESPECT MCM homes do not need to be hidden, but showcased. Treat their simple beauty with respect. Design with the home ever in mind. Keep a picture of the home in front of you while designing the landscape.
  6. 6. 2* STRUCTURE Strong lines in the landscape will complement the lines of the home. Hardscape is often the key. Hardscape imposing order. Plants can grow wild without obscuring the lines.
  7. 7. 3* FUNCTIONAL The atomic ranch was meant to be easy to build, easy to live in. The landscape should be easy to use, easy to maintain. Low-care solutions, like river rock and succulents, are at home in the MCM landscape.
  8. 8. 4* RESTRAINT MCM homes often have blank walls that need softening and roof lines that should be uninterrupted. Choose plants and placement carefully. Two blank wall panels to soften and a narrow window to highlight.
  9. 9. 5* MODERN The 2nd “M”. Modern Japanese, French, Post-Modern... Just keep it modern.
  10. 10. mcm LANDSCAPING I love these homes and love designing landscapes for them. Please visit our blog for more. Please ask questions or leave me any tips you have for creating atomic gardens. Ben Bowen- Landscape designer at Ross NW Watergardens in Portland, OR.

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