25 Midcentury Modern Landscaping Ideas for Your Home

Lisa Hallett Taylor
25 Midcentury Modern Landscaping Ideas for Your Home

Postwar midcentury modern homes were designed to blend indoor and outdoor living. Homeowners could view their gardens through floor-to-ceiling windows and easily interact with the outdoor environments through sliding glass doors and patios level with interior floors. Landscaping for these homes was—and remains—clean and uncomplicated, with an emphasis on hardscape and the pleasures of outdoor living. Check out these midcentury modern inspired landscaping ideas that can work in a variety of modern settings.

  • 01 of 25

    Mix in Asian Influences

    midcentury modern landscape
     Jeri Koegel

    Midcentury modern homes in California were often designed for the Mediterranean climate. Atriums were built at the entrance or in the center of the home. This Orange County atrium from Lee Ann Marienthal Gardens blends midcentury and Asian design using boulders, a pond waterfall, a flagstone patio, and shade-tolerant plants like Japanese maples.

  • 02 of 25

    Keep It Small

    midcentury modern garden design
     Northwest Native

    Northwest Native Landscapes used a combination of hardscape, sharp angles, and plants with textural details for a small postwar home in Portland, OR.

  • 03 of 25

    Add Sustainable Plants

    eichler home marinwood
     Hingman Chan

    The owners of an Eichler home in Northern California redesigned their landscape to incorporate sustainable features and add native and drought-tolerant plants. Designed by one of the owners of Building Lab and his landscape designer wife, the landscape features a sloping front yard that visually connects it with the surrounding hills.

  • 04 of 25

    Oakland Eichler

    eichler home oakland
     Patrik Argast

    Beckner Contracting restored this Eichler home in Northern California’s Oakland Hills, enhancing the home’s trademark carport and entry atrium with wall-hugging planters filled with agapanthus and delicate shoots of bamboo against the entry wall.

  • 05 of 25

    Incorporate Concrete Pavers

    george bissell midcentury home
     MYD Studio

    Moss Yaw Design Studio revamped a Laguna Niguel, CA home designed by Southern California architect George Bissell with concrete pavers, a low concrete wall, and planting beds with evenly spaced drought-tolerant plants.

  • 06 of 25

    Add Geometric Lines

    midcentury modern landscaping

    Michelle Boudreau Design

    This Palm Springs, CA, backyard from Michelle Boudreau Design features desert-friendly landscaping and geometric concrete and gravel hardscaping that complements the updated midcentury modern style of the home.

  • 07 of 25

    Make It Organic

    midcentury modern landscaping

    Midcentury modern landscaping often prioritizes an organic look and feel that complements the clean lines of the architecture, like this backyard pool patio from Joshua Smith Inc.

  • 08 of 25

    Light the Palm Trees

    midcentury modern landscape design
     Ryan Gamma Photography

    Borden Landscape added curb appeal to this Modernist-inspired Sarasota, FL home with hardscape; Floridian palm trees; and lush, coastal foliage that is lit up after dark to create a warm and welcoming feel.

  • 09 of 25

    Let It Grow

    midcentury modern backyard
     Nat Rea Photography

    Boston-based Flavin Architects updated a home by architect Robert Coolidge—a contemporary of the famous Modernist Walter Gropius. Viewed from the back, the home features a two-level yard, each with a private walled patio that offers intimacy and outdoor living surrounded by plenty of lush greenery with a lived-in look. 

  • 10 of 25

    Draw a Line

    midcentury modern landscape design
     Jeremy Bittermann

    A modern home in Portland, OR, built by Don Tankersley & Co. and designed by Situ Architecture, emphasizes natural materials and a linear design. Planting design, by Michael Schultz Landscape Design, is clean and Asian-influenced, with bonsais in wide, low pots. Accent illumination is by Oregon Outdoor Lighting

  • 11 of 25

    Keep It Minimal

    midcentury modern landscaping

    Michelle Boudreau Design

    The front yard of this Palm Springs midcentury modern home from Michelle Boudreau Design is xeriscaped with a smattering of cacti and plants in varying shades of green that complement the minimalist facade and the dessert setting.

  • 12 of 25

    Rock Out

    midcentury modern landscape design
     Andy Folz

    Floating pavers in a sea of Mexican river rock lead to the entry of an Eichler home in Southern California. Created by Grounded, the design is modern, focusing on bold shapes, repetition, minimalism, and a deep connection between architecture and the landscape.

  • 13 of 25

    Stay Green

    midcentury modern landscape design

    Clockwork designed a carpet of green grass rimmed by a neat border of Mexican river rock that hugs the concrete patio and surround of this midcentury modern home in Kansas City, MO.

  • 14 of 25

    Freshen Up

    midcentury modern home
     ©Archershot Chris Archer Photography

    Webber + Studio, Architects breathed new life into a midcentury modern in Austin, TX. Architect David Webber added cedar benches that match the home’s exposed wood. The original concrete and aggregate driveway and path were reused as saw-cut pavers for a new walkway. 

  • 15 of 25

    Include a Water Feature

    midcentury modern landscaping

    Michelle Boudreau Design

    The front atrium of this midcentury modern home from
    Michelle Boudreau Design includes a water feature and integrated planter boxes that can be seen from the street as well as from the inside of the home for a seamless indoor-outdoor feel.

  • 16 of 25

    Build a Concrete Block Wall

    midcentury landscape design
     Ground One

    A simple midcentury tract home was spruced up by Minnesota’s Ground One with a decorative concrete block wall, reminiscent of the patterned designs from the 1950s and 1960s. Tall grassy plants soften the concrete wall.

  • 17 of 25

    Mix Hard and Soft

    midcentury landscape design
     Huetil Landscape

    Huetll Landscape Architecture updated the landscape of an Edward Killingsworth-designed house in Northern California. Mediterranean and native shrubs, perennials, and ornamental grasses complement the surrounding landscape, while hardscape reflects the home’s modern lines.

  • 18 of 25

    Add Terraced Beds

    midcentury modern landscape design

    Envison Landscape Studio landscaped the terraced beds of a sloping backyard near San Francisco with blocks of easy-care flax lillies and Mexican feathergrass planted en masse for visual impact.

  • 19 of 25

    Use a Geometric Layout

    geometric landscape design
     Dig Your Garden

    Once neglected and overrun by weeds, the front yard of a midcentury home in Northern California received a smart makeover by Dig Your Garden Landscape Design that employs a geometric design. Both hardscape and softscape elements are evenly spaced; the geometric layout echoes the lines of the home.

  • 20 of 25

    Keep It Natural

    midcentury modern landscaping

    Dazey Den

    The front yard of this midcentury modern home from Dazey Den is landscaped to look like the rugged dessert that surrounds it, with a range of cacti and drought-tolerant plantings that give it an almost prehistoric feel.

  • 21 of 25

    Make It Sustainable

    midcentury modern landscaping

    Design by Gaia Inspired / Photo by Jenny Siegwart

    This modern home front entry from Gaia Inspired has a midcentury modern sensibility and a sustainable design with its edited selection of sculptural plants mixed with hardscaping and wood accents.

  • 22 of 25

    Keep It Clean and Simple

    midcentury modern landscape design
     Seed Studio

    Seed Studio used a clean and simple design for this midcentury modern-style backyard landscaping. Pea gravel paves the fire pit terrace. Drought-tolerant plants include low-growing dymonida and senecio, which are both grayish green.

  • 23 of 25

    Just Add Color

    midcentury modern landscape design
     C J South

    Exactly Designs livened up a midcentury house near Detroit, MI, with orange exterior trim, motel-style chairs, and vivid green grass. Low-growing shrubs in house-hugging beds don’t block the view from the inside. Designer Elin Walters added architectural details like metal roofline rods, rectangular concrete planters, and modern address numbers.

  • 24 of 25

    Contain It

    modern landscape design

    Extra-large fiberglass pots by International Art Properties are set on pea gravel against a horizontal wood-slat fence at a midcentury modern house in Mill Valley, CA. Designed by Bradanini & Associates Landscape Architecture, the design features horsetail, which can be invasive if not contained.

  • 25 of 25

    Santa Cruz Mid Mod

    midcentury modern landscape design

    Pea gravel is a popular hardscape material for contemporary and midcentury modern updates. It’s drought tolerant, permeable, inexpensive, and colors complement natural materials used on the homes’ exteriors. Designed by Verdant Landscape Architecture of Santa Cruz, CA, this backyard reflects the home’s simplicity.

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