Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Interesting New Garden Design for Mid-Century Ranch Homes

Furniture in the garden has always intrigued me, since becoming aware of furniture in the garden as 'a thing' watching an episode of Miss Marple on PBS in my early 20's.  Furniture set upon the lawn for tea?  Really?  Move it there?  Move it away? Never meant to stay in place......  Are you stupid?  It's obvious I was raised in a once-and-done family landscape culture. 
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This isn't technically about specifics of garden furniture, instead, Garden Designing with garden furniture. 
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Perhaps this garden, below, is in France.  Perhaps it's quite 'fine', aka expensive.  No worries, Garden Design isn't about expensive, can be, but it's not. 
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Garden, below, makes me see mid-century USA brick ranch homes in a new way.  Do you see it now too?

It's Only Natural.
Pic, above, here.
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Imagine this home, above, as a USA mid-century ranch burger, take away some of its original foundation plantings, leave 1-3, and espalier them flat against the house.  Add gravel, furniture, almost done.  What's left?  Do you see it clearly too? 
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Exterior color trinity, above.  Historic gardens are designed with an exterior color trinity.  Green/gray/black, above. 
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More.  Add a hedge, 3.5'-4', evergreen, toward the street.  Why sit in your garden, above, and look at traffic, worse, breath in traffic's toxic particulates?
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For the mid-century ranch I would also get the next size larger, of the pots, above, and place them on a subtle plinth.  Do you know the importance of this?  Huge.  May seem a bit 'off' yet it's brilliant.  With a bit larger pot, they can be left empty all year, or planted at whim.  Your life, you decide.  No wrong answer.
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Do consider, strongly, drip irrigation if you plan on having containers planted.   
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Too much lawn/space for all gravel?  Keep the lawn, Tara Turf, hopefully you already have some trees, if not.....you'll want an interesting tree, or more....  More than the simplicity of this new Garden Design it's also less maintenance, zero chemicals/fertilizers, and maximum pollinator habitat, greater use of a new garden room, higher property value, lower HVAC  expenses if HVAC considered with plant placement. 
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It's humbling how many mid-century ranch USA homes still have their original builder installed landscapes.  Pruning of hollies wanting to be trees, kept for over half a century at green meatball size.  Humbling?  Deeply.
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Seeing the inertia of human foible, keeping something because it's already there.  Harmful, but there.  Easier to keep, than change.  As if I see all life layers this easy !

Garden & Be Well,   XOT

3 comments:

Karen said...

It's always surprised me that people assume that once they complete their landscape they don't have to replace or remove anything in the yard if it isn't dead. I love the image. Furniture in a SoCal garden makes so much sense. It's one of our favorite places to enjoy a warm day.
Karen

Dewena said...

I've read this over and over even though our house is a 1935 cottage, not a ranch brick. But it has all those foundation plants, only not pruned. A tall holly in front corner, almost roof edge that I want to keep but 3 nondescript large shrubs down from it, down to a medium size boxwood at the other end and a huge maple. A large male holly further down from that, away from the house. In the rear are two huge hollies over the roof line. Bees and birds love them and I worry about them looking butchered if my husband prunes them even though one completely covers a small window in my kitchen.

I'm begging my husband and our son (our landlord) to take out the 3 large common shrubs in the front of the house and may talk them into it. We decided to put front yard on hold this spring and focus on the back where we live outside and have done pea gravel and terraces there, phase 1 and 2 of several more planned back there where we have level ground. But the front yard rises up from the grass to the house, not level at all and the porch sits up fairly high, 4 or 5 steps up, I'm not picturing it with gravel there at all.

Which gets me to a request, Tara, could you sometime show ideas for a ranch brick or a cottage that sits on a rise in front? How to handle that?

Miss Marple, yes!

And thank you so much for writing about the wives and marriages in the years of NASA on my Veteran's Day post. This is something that not many of us know about the sacrifices a family makes, all a part of our history.

And as I'm assuming this is a private message to you, please, I want to tell you about a friend of mine who is Canadian-Greek, living her whole marriage in Crete but facing a decision of whether to return to her birth home due to personal unhappiness and wanting to make a different future for herself. We've gone back and forth via email about the whole decision process with her trying to picture what her life could be like in both places. I reminded her today of something you wrote that got me through the months in Florida while I waited to come home to TN. You wrote: Go make a fairytale and live in it.

That was the starting place for me and I hope it will be for her.

Have a good Thanksgiving Day,
Dewena

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