10 ideas for landscaping a mid century home

landscaping a mid century houseIt’s that time of year — spring! — and readers are asking for more landscaping ideas. I’m on it, but meanwhile here is a survey of my top 10 stories that speak to dialing up your curb appeal with both plants and hardscaping — from adding roses or geraniums, decorative concrete blocks or trellises, mid mod containers, and more…

mid century modern landscaping

peace rose from wiki commons

rambling and climbing roses

vintage kohler kitchen

gainey ceramic pots

trellis for honeysuckle

decorative concrete block

fencing for a mid century house

deck skirting


pink flamingo lawn ornaments


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  1. Jean B. says

    Would you be able to recommend resources for an older home? Our house was built in the early 1920’s in Los Angeles, CA. I love Retro, but unfortunately it doesn’t apply to our era of house. Thanks for any recommendations you can give!

  2. Cathleen says

    Last year, I found a bunch of limestone blocks on Craigslist to border our garden surrounding our 1950s townhouse end unit. They look very modern. We used black bark mulch and a mix of red annuals and purple lobelia. It was stunning – IMO.
    I also did a bonsai-worthy, trim job on the 60 year old bushes; making them look a lot like the skypad apartments from the Jetsons cartoon TV show. I call them my Jetsons bushes. We’ll finally be planting (Michigan has been cold) and I will send some pics.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Cathleen, like you, I have now started watching craigslist for garden foundation materials. Limestone blocks: I wanna!

  3. says

    We’ve been through several landscaping iterations with our MCM (midcentury modest) home – for those in warmer climates (we’re in zone 9) I recommend xeriscaping, rocks, and more rocks! Adding simple geometric elements like concrete squares in the rocks gives it a nice touch where things won’t grow..

  4. Kathy says

    We have a 1948 modest California ranch with a front deck. The deck is way past due to be replaced and we can’t decide what to do. The carport is close by and is aggregate concrete.

    Should we replace it with a deck? A flagstone patio? Seems like aggregate concrete block patio would be too modern. No?

    Here’s a picture to give you a visual (I hope this works!). I’d love some input from you all.

    Thanks, Kathy


    • says

      Hi Kathy –

      A few questions first…

      Is the wooden deck where the chairs are, just in front of the picture window? How do you use the space now, assuming you do use it?

      How would you like to use that space? Do you feel a need for privacy or a sense of enclosure?

      Flagstone would be an appropriate surface, I think, considering the quiet charm of the house. Or perhaps brick? If you want some sense of enclosure, you could then do a very low brick wall around it.

      I like the bed of Algerian ivy, you might even use that on the other side, for balance. Once it’s established, it’s low maintenance, and uses less water. Many people today don’t like it, but it’s an appropriate plant for the time period.

      I think you should first analyze the functions you would like to see in the garden, and then think about plant material. I think using a limited palette of plants generally will give you a better result.

      • Kathy says

        Hi Steven,

        You are correct in that where the chairs are is the deck. We do not have a backyard so a lot of “hangin’ out” is done right there. We enjoy watching the world go by so feel no need for privacy.

        You don’t think it would look odd using flagstone so close to the existing aggregate under the carport? I can’t decide.

        The ivy is slowly creeping to fill in the side of the house. It’s a slow process!

        Thanks so much for your comments – I really appreciate it! Kathy

        • says

          I think I’d need to see the relationship between the carport and patio, if you think the aggregate would work better, then that might be the way to go. You might do a hedge around the area to enclose it, something like dwarf Indian hawthorn, with either white or pink flowers, will give a sense of privacy without blocking that area off completely.

          Maybe add some on the other side as well, with some more Algerian ivy?

  5. robyn says

    So glad to see a post about landscaping. I have really enjoyed reading all the former posts. I have finally decided after years of trying different combinations of annuals and perennials that my flower beds look best with a a symmetrical and controlled group of flowers. I like wildflowers and a country garden look, but that always looked messy and crazy in front of my neat, symmetrical 1964 ranch with wrought iron rose posts. Last year was my best look ever with a row of red mums growing towards a fall bloom with a front border of scarlet red periwinkles. Oh, and I had a larger decorative pot of red geraniums by my steps.. My house is yellow with a little red brick on the front and white shutters and trim. This year, my mums are bigger and fuller. Anyway, I love flowers and could ramble on and on…
    Would love to read and see more on this subject.. Thanks, Pam!

  6. Jana (Berniecat) says

    I am interested in fencing ideas, so I followed that discussion and found the old article about the Miracle Fencing. I love the Mix’n’Match Miracle fencing! My curiosity got the best of me and I did a quick bit of internet research. For anyone who lives in the vicinity, the Frontier Fencing Company is now called Pipe-Line Fence Inc. and it is still located at 875 Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown NY. It apparently changed names in 1969. The bad news: I did not find the exact “miracle fencing”. Good news: They still do offer over 50 designs of mix’n’match wood fencing (with a few mid century styles). Their web address is: http://www.pipelinefence.com. They offer a basic bottom wood panel, but you can then choose (mix and match) the “topper” to create your design. I like the 900-19 Round and the OT -18 Circle for the “atomic look”

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