When you hear MCM landscape, you might be picturing palm trees and succulents. Mid Century Modern landscape design can fit in wherever you’re located … as long as it celebrates your climate. Here are some professional tips for a non-desert MCM landscape.
Landscape designer James Drzewiecki, design principal and owner of Ginkgo Leaf Studio elaborates. “If your landscape isn’t in Palm Springs, don’t try to make it look like it’s in Palm Springs,” James advises. Here are his tips for designing a lush MCM backyard look that fits your unique locale:
- Take your location into account. “If your house is in New York or South Carolina and you have a desert-looking lawn, it will look out of place,” says James. Avoid using a lot of gravel or stone mulch; opt instead for pebbles or wood mulch as bedding. “We can be near 100 degrees, and if the plants are surrounded by stone mulch, it will reflect the heat and dry out the plants.”
- Research local plants. Using popular MCM-style plants is great if you can, but make sure they’ll be able to thrive in your climate. Don’t rely on looks alone. “Our climate goes through temperature swings in Wisconsin,” James points out. “I suggest prairie plants and ornamental grasses for our locals.”
- Plant in groups. The desert vibe tends to have immense space between plants for a minimalist look. Instead, group plants closer together for a more vibrant, lush feel.
- Use pavers and runnels to divide spaces. MCM style is all about clean lines, and this look can be achieved with stones and plants. Utilize the space between pavers or concrete foundations to plant lines of grasses or shrubs for a modern, textured look that helps create zones.
To see more inspiration of what a non-desert MCM landscape can look like, see James’ handiwork in an MCM Wisconsin landscape. You can also see some of MCM landscape architect Dan Kiley’s work on the East Coast here.
For more MCM landscape inspiration, don’t miss our latest Exteriors and Landscape special issue! From garden design to outdoor lighting, curb appeal essentials to patio furniture accessories, our annual Exterior & Landscaping Special is here to help you give the mod home of your dreams a garden to match. Take a tour of incredible mid-century homes which exemplify indoor-to-outdoor style that will give you insight and inspiration for creating a cohesive and masterfully thought out design for your whole home. Get expert advice on everything from hardscaping to pools and water features. Plus plant advice for every zone. Then peruse our editor’s picks on the products that will perfect your outdoor living and entertaining spaces. Get your copy here!