MCM Landscaping : A how-to guide.

Home improvement Q&A, pictures and news fro Mid Century Modern Homes and Houses(NOT for Real Estate)

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BAZ_MCM
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MCM Landscaping : A how-to guide.

Postby BAZ_MCM » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:41 am

Spent several weekends breaking my back for some MCM landscaping.

You can read the full post here: http://www.atomicindy.com/2011/11/mid-c ... aping.html

I'll work on uploading pics to Flickr and will post them below later.

Cheers,

-Baz
Mid Century Modernizing the modern world: http://atomicindy.com/

robbhouston
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Postby robbhouston » Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:26 am

Baz,

That looks awesome! I love your house, btw. Did you do the backyard as well? I'd be interested in seeing that too... :)

We did a similar stone perimeter around our house...
http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... patio.html

Those pics are old, we've since put in some potted plants and few good sized decorative rocks.

Before...
http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... efore.html

The work...
http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... uring.html

Again great work! Looks like you had some help too. Lucky you. I did ours myself, with some help from my wife towards the end. I needed it!

--Robb
http://www.nashvillemodern.com
A little website I created to showcase my home and other MCMs in and around the Nashville TN area.

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BAZ_MCM
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Postby BAZ_MCM » Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:56 pm

Nice work!

I have not tackled the backyard yet. I'll save that for spring. My plans include an edible garden.

Cheers,

-Baz
Mid Century Modernizing the modern world: http://atomicindy.com/

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BAZ_MCM
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Postby BAZ_MCM » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:34 pm

Here are some highlights from the project:

Image
House Numbers by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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Dusk by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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Dusk view by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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porch view by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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Tilt shift house numbers by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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gravel by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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work by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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landscaping by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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bonsai bush by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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bonsai hedging by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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island of gravel in a sea of grass by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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mod scape by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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from road by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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working by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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sunny day by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14942138@N ... 041903779/

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landscaping cloth by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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landscaping cloth 3 by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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nite lite by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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trench by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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IMG_8056 by Atomic Indy, on Flickr

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IMG_8047 by Atomic Indy, on Flickr
Mid Century Modernizing the modern world: http://atomicindy.com/

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Mod' i-fy
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Postby Mod' i-fy » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:12 am

Very very nice, I recently did the same with rocks but I went more the desert palm springs kinda direction. One problem I'm having though with the small rocks, I have a lot of outdoor neighborhood cats who think my yard is a huge kitty litter box. I don't know if you have stray cats in your neighborhood be prepared to deal with that if you do.
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Postby robbhouston » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:58 am

problem I'm having though with the small rocks


Small finer stone bumping flush against grass is definitely a cool look. But, for a variety of reasons, we went put in medium/large river stone with 8"x16" pavers along the edge. Not as elegant, but it stays put (even when leaf blowing), cats don't mistake it for litter (way to large for the 2 or 3 strays we feed each evening). The pavers keep the stone contained and are even with the grass height, so I can run over one now and then when cutting tight corners on the mower. They also make for a nice clean edge to weed trim along...

http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... nt5_lg.jpg

--Robb
http://www.nashvillemodern.com

A little website I created to showcase my home and other MCMs in and around the Nashville TN area.

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Van
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Postby Van » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:18 pm

How do you guys get leaves off the rocks? I've tried leave blowers/vacuums and that either blows/vacuums the rocks as well or doesn't move either. Raking doesn't really seem to work that well either.

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Postby rglater » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:18 pm

I started my interest in MCM landscaping with the NYT obit of Garrett Ekbo and then buying items at the estate sale of Frederick A. Cuthbert a Dean of Architecture at UO (a lot of his work outside of campus was in City Planning).

An oft neglected area of MCM, in fact complaints at the Friends of Atomic Ranch about space being used for articles on Landscaping. Buildings don't exist in vacuums but in landscapes.
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Postby egads » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:09 am

I have to say that all the rock is more desert modern than MCM. If one uses too much of it, it's more trailer park than anything else. I have paid to have a ton of rock removed myself.

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Postby robbhouston » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:30 pm

I have to say that all the rock is more desert modern than MCM.


I agree.

If one uses too much of it, it's more trailer park than anything else.


Ouch..! I hope you don't mean someone posting here has gone too far. :oops:

We went with stone mainly for the easy maintenance and long term durability, and I do like the look. I like an orderly yard, but don't really care to do a lot of yard work. In fact, I honestly hate yard work... :) I definitely didn't want to be mulching every year, etc, etc... The stone, along with potted plants and a few large decorative rocks, is great for low maintenance. We also placed the same stone over some of the paved areas near our front door (that used to be grass, before the previous owner got paving happy) to carry our exterior hardscape into our entry court space...

Before...
http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... before.jpg

After...
http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... ourt/1.jpg
http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... ourt/2.jpg
http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... ourt/3.jpg

Kinda creates the illusion theres more natural ground textures closer to the entry, even though it's pavement underneath.

How do you guys get leaves off the rocks?


Leaf blower works great!

--Robb
http://www.nashvillemodern.com

A little website I created to showcase my home and other MCMs in and around the Nashville TN area.

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Postby scowsa » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:00 pm

We used "DG" - deconstructed granite - when we landscaped. As you can see we used it on the parkways and walkable areas of the front yard.

We like it because of its earth tones and it forms a crust once it's been rained on. Our city would have not let us use stone on the parkways even if we had wanted to, as it get disturbed and ends up in the street.

We pegged down heavy duty weed cloth beforehand and then put down a 2'' layer and compacted it.

Image
scowsa

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Mod' i-fy
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Postby Mod' i-fy » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:36 am

I went with rock because I of three things.

1. I have a huge tree that sucks up every bit of water that lands in the front yard. I miss two days of watering and the grass turns brown.

2 The Water bill was crazy

3. We live on a hillside and its soil isn't very forgiving.

Leaf blower is my friend...
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Postby Mod' i-fy » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:47 am

rglater wrote:An oft neglected area of MCM, in fact complaints at the Friends of Atomic Ranch about space being used for articles on Landscaping. Buildings don't exist in vacuums but in landscapes.


I totally agree 150% This is always neglected just look at ALL the mags.
The closest you can get is the landscape photo gallary in Houzz and Sunset mag (sometimes).

I think its worthy of a sub-forum myself.
Hey Futura Girl what-cha think?
"Where words cease modern speaks" - Mod' i-fy

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Stephen
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Postby Stephen » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:18 pm

Especially out here in California, it is very much overlooked. Good landscaping really makes the house, especially in homes with a lot of glass looking to the outdoors.


Mod' i-fy wrote:I totally agree 150% This is always neglected just look at ALL the mags.
The closest you can get is the landscape photo gallary in Houzz and Sunset mag (sometimes).

I think its worthy of a sub-forum myself.
Hey Futura Girl what-cha think?
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http://www.OCModHomes.com
http://www.CliffMaySocal.com
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Van
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Postby Van » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:43 am

I've noticed two things walking around different neighborhoods in Dallas lately--the yards are either really sad looking and a mess or they have been redone with native/well-adapted plantings and way less yard than typical. We've had some terrible weather here--crazy amounts of snow then the hottest, driest summer ever, then a winter that barely got below 32°. Traditional landscaping did not survive.

It's interesting that one neihborhood will be full of houses with the native/drought tolerant landscaping scheme but another will just be sad, dead yards. And it doesn't seem to depend on the house value.

For those of you familiar with Dallas, the neighborhood between Peavy and Easton (west of Garland Rd) is the sad landscaping overall but the less valuable neighborhood between Peavy and N Buckner (Carnegie-Cloister) has many homes with great native landscaping. Both neighborhoods are mid-century.

Sorry I went off on a tangent--just made me think about reasons why it'd be that way. I've seen the same in other neighborhoods. I hope the rest of my neighborhood will catch on to it.

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Postby midmodDoc » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:31 am

+
I harken back to the 60's as a child and recall front yards designed more to welcome guests from the street and not necessarily landscaped for design purposes. This is consistent with the motif of form- follows -function so essential to midcenturymodern concepts. I also prefer softer, natural lines setting off the angles, planes and straight lines of our homes. Just my 2 cents.

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Postby Mod' i-fy » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:31 am

Yeah it really takes effort and a desire. Thats why I strongly believe neighbors must be inspired. Sometimes it just takes one person to take the lead so that people can actually see the potential of our home's curb appeal. It looks to be slowly working on my street. Hopefully I'm showing that a simple, clean, uncluttered yard really works with our MCM styled homes (single story low pitched gabbled roofs).
"Where words cease modern speaks" - Mod' i-fy

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Postby robbhouston » Tue May 15, 2012 7:29 am

BAZ_MCM,

Just wondering how your landscaping (particularly, the stone you put down) is working out now that you've lived with it a while...weed-eated along it's edges, leaf blown it, etc...

--Robb
http://www.nashvillemodern.com

A little website I created to showcase my home and other MCMs in and around the Nashville TN area.

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Tue May 15, 2012 4:07 pm

Yes -- please fill us in (if you're still out there) ! I'd like to know how gravity affected your crushed rock, and how the borderless-border technique behaved over time. These facts would help others immensely with their own landscape plans . . .

Thanks !

SDR

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Postby rglater » Sat May 03, 2014 10:11 am

I came across this while perusing the real estate board. I reposted this to a Face Book page Atomic Frontyards https://www.facebook.com/groups/321276654597915/

You might also check out my page on MCM real estate - I always list Lotta Living as the source and have listed the LL url.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MCMRealEstate/
Richard Dietzel

gabh an latha

Eugene, OR

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happy modernists in MN
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rocks in landscaping

Postby happy modernists in MN » Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:46 pm

Hi, I've got a few different areas of my yard that have landscaping fabric covered with rock. One area is covered in small rocks (like pea gravel), another with river rocks, and another with larger rocks. My experience has been that there is no landscaping fabric that is affordable, eco friendly (and not plastic), and that REALLY works out there in the market. At least not when I laid it down 5 years ago. It's been a real pain in the butt trying to keep weeds out of all the different style rocks. It's especially hard with the smaller rocks, trying to move them to lift the fabric away to uncover all the roots of the weeds, and then the fabric tears, UGH. It seems like over a short amount of time, pine cones, leaves, etc, decompose into dirt in the rocks and stuff starts to grow :)
It's definitely easier to blow stuff out of the bigger rocks. The pea gravel just gets blown away. Beware if you have kids in your yard, they love to throw the rocks into the grass, which is great when you get to mow the lawn. I ALWAYS wear eyewear now, and long pants, cause every time I mow the lawn I hit rocks that attack. I love the way the rocks look, and it is worth it, but it is definitely not maintenance free! Nothing looks crappier than weeds in rock beds, and when you are a busy person it is very overwhelming to deal with it.
I wish I could bring myself to use plastic landscaping fabric, but I just can't.
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SDR
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Postby SDR » Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:08 pm

Why ever not ?

Plastic is just another material, to be used where it's effective. Nature makes resins, and man imitated nature when he learned to manipulate natural material to make synthetic resins. There are those who believe, in fact, that we should be reserving petroleum to make the best plastics, rather than consuming it for fuel.

Is that your objection, that we shouldn't be placing plastics in the natural environment ?

Best -- SDR

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happy modernists in MN
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can't do it

Postby happy modernists in MN » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:34 am

I don't put any chemicals on my lawn, and half of it is an organic garden. Just can't do it. The stuff breaks down anyway. I know I'm weird, and maybe totally wrong, but I just can't do it. Just like I don't use plastic cookware or containers. Yuck.

I would assume that you would still have the weed problem after a few years, with sediment, leaves, pinecones breaking down and weeds growing on top of the plastic. Believe me, I'm not here to try to start arguing about these things, just giving my diy experience with it.

Krissy
I like pink toilets, pink kitchens, lambretta sx200's and bianchinas.

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Postby robbhouston » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:21 pm

Hey there,

Sorry to hear you've had trouble. We put our stone perimeter down in 2006 and it's held up perfectly to present. I first excavated the area down about 4", then physically removed grass, weeds and roots, then sprayed a ground clear product, then applied the landscape fabric (not plastic) with great care and accuracy. It probably helps we're on a pretty flat lot with very few tress. So, there's no water run off or tree droppings. Every once in a while we'll get a single weed here and there. It'll be suspended in the stone, like maybe it was a bird dropping. Definitely not coming up thru the fabric. I pull them out when they show up, root and all. They come out easy...

Image

I put down riverstone at my folks house to make it lower maintenance (for them and me, as I do a lot of the yard work for them). Those terraces were covered with an out-of-control English-garden (ie: weeds). Unlike our place, they are at the foot of a hill and the lot is wooded (and on the lake). I find each Spring I have to hit the stone (which is easily 1000s of sqft) with ground clear via a backpack style sprayer. Once I'm ahead of any weeds, they seem to clear up by the beginning of summer. So yeah, there's a bit more maintenance at the beginning of Spring, but after that it's pretty low maintenance...

Image

--Robb
http://www.nashvillemodern.com

A little website I created to showcase my home and other MCMs in and around the Nashville TN area.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:31 am

leaf removal... blower and vac, but isn't perfect. advice: don't plant bamboo in japanese gardens. they drop leave all year! looks nice, but a mess :)

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:33 am

weed issue? college kids are a great investment ;)


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