This home in Portland has a very organic Japanese garden, peppered with granite and concrete pavers for a modern flair. Photo by Jim Brown.

Looking for the perfect summer project? Consider updating your landscaping with midcentury modern style. Although it may seem easy, landscaping is often a time-consuming project requiring ample planning and structuring. It can seem daunting at first to tackle an unruly front or back yard, but with these landscaping ideas in mind, you’ll be on your way to creating a stunning exterior in no time. 

1. Do your research. The most important thing to keep in mind is the area where you live, and what types of plants flourish best in your area. In drier areas such as California or Arizona, succulents will be your go-to; wetter areas like the Midwest and northeast have more freedom in terms of which plants you can pick.   

 2. Use planters. Putting plants into planters is a quick and easy way to add modern style to your landscaping. Colorful bullet-shaped planters are the perfect place for succulents, while oversized cylinder pots on wooden stands look great when paired symmetrically in an entryway.   

 3. Paving stones. Using stepping-stones in your front yard is a visually striking way to welcome guests to your home. Squares, rectangles, or even circles made of concrete can mirror the architectural design of a modern home and provide a stunning entryway. Stepping stones through the grass of a backyard make a bold and contrasting statement.

4. Geometrics. Geometric lines are constantly found in modern architecture, and interiors and exteriors best work together when they use similar patterns and textures. Plant your flowers or succulents in horizontal lines, or plant them in diagonal patterns for more visual interest.

5. Mod plants. Of all our landscaping ideas, this one is definitely the most impactful. Several species of plants already look in a modern style, so make it easy on yourself and plant some of the following modern looking plants in your garden. Yucca and Aeonium make for hardy and geometrically elegant plants, while Lily Turf, New Zealand Flax, and Agapanthus will add color to your landscaping.