Mid Century Modern Landscaping

DIY Lessons in Mod-Scaping.

Winter is upon us. As the cold sets in, I thought it'd be a good time to show you what's kept me busy all summer.

This post comes complete with a crash course in DIY-ing yourself a rockin' modern landscape.

It starts like this...

Get a hefty collection of vintage modern landscaping books. Get inspired.

Draw up a plan. Crudely. Not to scale.

Get some rope. Play with layouts until your mod-loving heart is content.

Channel the graffiti artist in you with some turf-marking spray paint.

Trace your rope line with paint.

Borrow a trench spade. Dig a trench.

Trench will serve as a "moat" to prevent gravel from washing away. This is much more attractive than raised edging, and you can mow right across it. Promise.

Rest for a day. Then lay landscaping cloth for weed prevention.

Drop in some accent plantings.

Arrange more rope. Graffiti more lawn. Dig more trench. Lay a lot more landscaping cloth.

Have 16 tons of limestone driveway gravel dropped at your doorstep. This whole load was less than $300 including delivery.

Stand atop the mound of gravel and crown yourself King of the mound.

Invite a few unsuspecting friends over with the promise of beer and some "light" work. Apologise to your friends for using the word "light" once they get there.

Load a wheel barrow more times than you can count. Then sing this song.

Using a garden rake, carefully even the gravel out to a delicate state of perfection.

Cheerfully "bonsai" your bushes (not a euphemism).

Decorate the details.

Stand back and revel.

Install landscape lighting before you go to bed.

Sleep for a month.

The. End.



P.S. If you're diggin' on the house numbers, you can read about that project here.


The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

Wow, looks amazing. Just one thing. You most likely need to leave some space around the trunks of your tree. Trees become unhappy with dirt or mulch heaped up around their base. Unhappy trees are usually not the prettiest. Might need some kind of collar to hold back the gravel from the trunk.

Daly Beauty said...

Dude- I am the biggest proponent of rock gardens for MCM landscaping. I lucked out with a line on river pebbles and got around the same amount for my place. They are the definition of low maintenance gardening. You did a stellar job. I had a buddy developing some land and got some boulders to place "here" and "there". You know, as accent pieces. Congrats! It looks gorg.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic!! Love the ideas, I first started mid-century blogging when I found it so hard to find information about mid-century landscape!

Stephen Meade said...

Awesome man!

Tristan said...

Me likey. Nice job.

Ben Smithson said...

We priced out some chico (white) rock, and we're saving up to rock a dirt pile in our front yard and 1/3 of our back yard. Your project looks really good. Jealous.

Baz Mcm said...

@Queen of 50;

Thanks for the tip. I'll look into it.


Always so kind.


You're right, there isn't a lot of info out there on MCM -scaping.


Appreciate it, man!


You can come over any time.

@ Ben;

Good luck with your project. Shoot me some pics when you're done.

undercover caterer said...

Looks great! I am dubbing next year the summer of front yard landscaping project. Thanks for the inspiration. My joint is more 1950 than mod but I like the bonsai idea.

The Eagle said...

Good to see you up blogging again. Understand why it took so long. King of the Mound you are. Proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Consider a metal or aluminum edging product to keep the gravel from creeping into the turf. Permaloc professional aluminum is a good choice.

I would worry a bit about that much limestone leaching and killing plants. (too alkaline) Luckily you did the fabric which should help.

steam shower kits said...

The yard looks amazing. However shoveling all that stone out doesnt look like such a good time. The finished product is well worth the effort I would say.

Anonymous said...

Instead of using string for your layout of garden beds, water hoses works amazing for the curves of the garden.

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

Great job...but all I could think of was how much work was involved and how playing King of the Hill (Queen, in my case) and singing Sixteen Tons was the only part that really sounded like fun.

Celeste said...

The finished product looks amazing!! Definitely looks like it took a lot of work!

Anonymous said...

Just checked in after a long time. Love the landscaping! I'm the one that has the black version of your MCM outdoor loveseat/bench. I love how you trimmed the bushes. So funny but I did the same thing a few years back. I call them my Jetson's sky pad apartment bushes! -Mrs. C.

Anika said...

Just curious, which vendor did you go through for your gravel? We're stone shopping in Indy...

Brandon said...

I really like the end result of how the house looks.

Anonymous said...

Great look! We have loved your DIY projects. We are thinking about recreating your gravel garden beds, but were concerned with what happens to grass clippings. Is it easy to clean up with a blower?

Anonymous said...

I have a question, what kind of bushes are those?

georgia b. said...

A) your house is awesome!

B) that's such a great look for landscaping, and i hope to do something similar for our mcm ranch.

C) love this blog!