In the era after World War II, design trends rebelled against the ornate styles of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Simplicity, efficiency and functionality replaced the decorative and detailed art nouveau style.
In a mid-century home it was crucial that outdoor and indoor spaces relate to each other. The garden was a structural addition to a home to make a living space feel complete, and each individual outdoor space reflected the aesthetic of the house.
The 1950s were the golden days of the American lawn. Adored for being subtle, monochromatic and minimal, manicured turf was a staple in landscaping. It even looked low-maintenance.
In the mid-century design, plants were used sparingly and chosen for their sculptural rather than their decorative features. Flowers were replaced by foliage, which was enjoyed for form and texture. It was important that a garden be low-maintenance, as part of an evolving suburban way of life.
Cottage Gardens set out to create a low-water, low-maintenance landscape that would do justice to architecture of an established Gainesville home (above). Follow these guidelines to create your own mid-century outdoor living space.
Rectilinear Design – Don’t be afraid of angles. Square pavers create a transition between the existing porch and a new rectangular patio made of crushed limestone pea gravel (above). Chipped granite (top, left) contrasts crisply with a concrete entry wall for a modern twist on the front entry.
Architectural Foliage – Green Goblet Agaves were chosen for their striking corrugated form (below, left). Consider drought tolerant succulents in repeating containers for textural continuity.
Smooth Lawns – Create an open sweep of lawn as an extension of your house. Centipede grass is a tough, native alternative to fussy varieties for full sun and lends to a modern, minimal look without a lot of fertilizer.
Cottage Gardens Inc.
Jon George is the owner of Cottage Gardens, Inc., a Gainesville-based landscape design and installation firm. Jon has been gardening in North Central Florida for more than 30 years. You may contact his staff at www.TheCottageGardener.com or at [email protected].
Photography provided by Cottage Gardens, Inc.