Will power, restraint and stern self-talks are keeping my front yard in line so far. Having recently moved into a mid-century modern home, I want the landscape to echo the design of the house. That means my plant choice and color palate should remain tight, minimal and planned. The landscape should be sleek look with a Pan-Asian influence.
The lines of a mid-century house are long and low, giving a horizontal sense. There is no fuss to the trim. This garden wants that same feeling modern feeling. Japanese gardens work so well with this house style by using shaped Pine trees, minimal shrub choices that stay in tidy clumps and maybe a little bamboo is added for whimsy. However, my garden has me, a plant lover, as the owner. The yard and I may have a few compromises as planting continues.
My design is crisp and low maintenance. Lines are straight and paths are long and narrow. I have a book on Japanese gardens with two pages of path ideas that I’ve been drooling over for years. We used 5’ long granite stair treads and irregular flagstone pieces. The house has a grand view of the Willamette River, so I wanted to bring that aspect into the yard using river rock in one quadrant. I figure it’s drought tolerant and requires just a bit of leaf removal from time to time.
A few things came from the old house. The gate’s a treasure I worked on with a metal artist and couldn’t bear to leave. It needed a stand, so I’m hoping the tory gate look isn’t too much of a “been there done that” trite look. A small number of plants snuck over here from the old house. They all have a common deep maroon color about them, so that’s my starting point for cohesion in plant world. The existing Dogwood’s life was spared because Pablo Bautista, expert pruner, guided it into an acceptable shape.
More plants will come as spring moves in. The pots will get filled with an orange grass, the dogwood will have Silver Dollar Hebes, Polygalas (look them up, they’re early blooming, evergreen and low). When I see Lavender, Dahlias or orange Echinacea, I’ll tell myself, “Set the plant down. Walk away from the plant. Do not look back.” Will power, restraint and stern self talks—I’ll be happier in the long run.
(This is the house before we bought it. You can’t see the red lava rocks lining the beds, but you can see the meatball shaped Azaleas.)