A landscape design firm turns an empty Wisconsin lawn into a peaceful, MCM-inspired backyard.
Reimagining the past is a mid-century homeowner’s ultimate goal—especially when a home is stripped of its original features.
For the homeowners of a 1950s ranch in Bayside, Wisconsin, all that was left of the existing home was the foundation, and the new structure was a modern interpretation of a mid-century home. After remodeling it to reflect their love of Mid Century Modern design, they decided to continue their style outside and began searching for an expert who could help them bring their vision to life for a modern Wisconsin yard.
Wisonsin Yard Before the Modern Makeover
The Perfect Fit for Creating a Wisconsin Modern Backyard
The homeowners hired landscape designer James Drzewiecki, design principal and owner of Ginkgo Leaf Studio. With a degree in architecture, James approaches landscape design differently than most.
“My team doesn’t come from a traditional background,” he points out. “We have a unique perspective on design. One of my horticulturalists and landscape designers, Hannah Paulson, has an art background as well. It’s a big factor in the reason we’re so successful with MCM style.”
While every business struggled during COVID, including Ginkgo Leaf Studio, one good thing that came of it was the expansion of the business to virtual consultations.
“People have trouble finding a local landscape company that understands MCM design. And, because COVID made everything virtual, it opened up the idea that we could do this virtually. Now, we design all over the United States.”
However, this Bayside project was local, and when the homeowners came across James’ portfolio, they knew he would be a good fit.
Endless Potential for the Wisconsin Yard Modern Makeover
The previous owners had had the original backyard patio removed, so they started their renovation with a completely blank slate.
“It was pretty much an empty lawn. It can be difficult to home in on the direction you want to go in this situation, because the possibilities are limitless. But because mid-century architecture is strong and often dramatic, we look for details such as significant doors, windows and lines that can guide us in our design.”
The homeowners also had a wish list to take into account: They wanted a dining area, lounging area, a fire pit with seating and a grassy space for their daughter to play.
“It gets chilly here at night, so a fire pit allows us to stretch our seasons,” James explains.
The homeowners describe their style as “California modern with an Asian flair,” so James carefully chose materials that would help reflect their unique preferences. Colored poured concrete was used as the foundation of the outdoor spaces, bluestone pavers lined the paths, beach pebbles delineated zones, and slate chips provided the Asian flair.
“It’s meant to resemble walking through a zen Japanese garden,” James says.
The result is a peaceful and functional Wisconsin modern yard that pays homage to its home’s past.
To learn more about modern landscape that stays true to its region in Midwestern zones such as Wisconsin, read on here for more of Jim’s professional advice. And of course don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more Mid Century Modern inspiration!