Just because midcentury modernism has been all the rage for the past year doesn't mean the trend is losing steam anytime soon. Instead, many savvy design enthusiasts are bringing their sleek lines and practical-first features to the great outdoors. While great furniture and accessories can complete the look, your midcentury outdoor space starts with some great landscaping.
Ready to level up your backyard for the summer? We're breaking down 20 beyond-beautiful landscape ideas. Whether you have a sprawling yard or tiny balcony, one thing's for sure: you can incorporate these elements into any area.
Less is More
Midcentury modernism is all about practical, pared-back design, so why would your outdoor space be any exception? Swatts & Co Design Studio gets the job done by peppering a few plants throughout the front yard.
"We enclosed the garage, completely gutted this house, and from a boring ranch it turned into a pretty cool little house," blogger Susannah Watts explains. "We used Hardie board cement siding and cedar on the front."
Put Down Some Pavers
Of course, the less-is-more approach can also be applied to the landscaping itself. Blogger Shavonda Gardner went hardscape-heavy by putting down a handful of black pavers in her backyard. She adds just a touch of greenery to her seating area with potted plants and succulents.
Wow With a Walkway
What better way to complete your midcentury landscaping than with an eye-catching walkway? In this yard by Missy Stewart Designs, a zig-zag walkway offsets the home and yard's sleek, symmetrical layout.
As the saying goes, the devil lies in the details. Each paver is surrounded by a bunch of little plants, creating plenty of visual intrigue in the process.
Give Your Space the Tiled Treatment
Kelly Mindel of Studio DIY created the perfect midcentury oasis by pairing the lush landscaping with a simple pergola. But, what really makes this space shine is the stenciled tiles added to the hardscaping, creating a stark contrast from the vibrant greens nearby.
Add a Dose of Family Fun
Just because you want to bring the midcentury spirit to your outdoor space doesn't mean it has to be boring. Need proof? Take a gander at this family-ready space, courtesy of Eldridge London. With angular planters, a surplus of wood, and a metal slide in the middle, this setup gives the midcentury look an unexpectedly fun edge.
Style With Symmetry
When in doubt, you can't go wrong with symmetry. The midcentury aesthetic prioritizes organization, and having an orderly setup will bring the vibe from the inside out. Blogger Diana Elizabeth brings the midcentury attitude to this modern farmhouse with matching shrubs.
Think Inside the Box
Whether you're buying a classic Knoll sofa or a piece that's inspired by the style's glory days, one thing's for sure: midcentury furniture typically boasts a sleek, and somewhat boxy, silhouette. So, why not bring that shape into your outdoor space?
Danielle of The House on Hillside Lane brought that midcentury edge to her front porch with these boxy planters. The pared-back furniture behind her greens completes the modern look.
Add Raised Garden Beds
Or, if you'd like to take the boxy planter fad one step further, spring for some raised garden beds. In this project, courtesy of Maestri Studio, a few raised garden beds adorn one of the sides of the walkway.
Not only does it pick up on the facade's black accents, but juxtaposing it with low-slung plants also creates a dynamic look.
Revel in Repetition
Bring midcentury's signature simplicity to life with thoughtful repetition. For this project, architect Andrew Mann tapped landscape architect Scott Lewis to double down on the backyard's design. The row of near-identical trees plays nicely with the row of lounge chairs, creating a space that's pretty and practical in equal measure.
Balance Hard and Soft
Want to make your midcentury home stand out? Add some whispy greens to your yard, as seen in this project by Malcolm Davis. The stark contrast between hard and soft allow the home's facade to shine without appearing sterile.
Create Negative Space
For another project, Davis enlisted Ground Studio Landscape Architecture to create the perfect backdrop for this sleek, ranch-style home. Instead of filling the yard with lush greens as far as the eye can see, the California-based firm created negative space by strategically placing each shrub. The final product is both parts simple and stylish—just like our favorite midcentury rooms.
Create Some Privacy
In true midcentury fashion, let your landscape work overtime to bridge the gap between form and function. Simply put, midcentury spaces love the happy medium. Architecture firm Medium Plenty teamed up with Terremoto to add some greens around the fire pit area. Not only does this look good, but it also creates some extra privacy from nosy neighbors.
Get Your Palm On
Did you know that Palm Springs is the "it" destination for midcentury design? If you want to pay homage to the modernist mecca, take a cue from Strang Design. The design firm incorporated a small selection of plants, complementing the palm trees looming above. And, when combined with the neutral hardscaping, it also feels like you're in the covetable desert yourself.
Expand Your Architecture
While the midcentury aesthetic is a perfect match for the deserts of Palm Springs, it might look out of place in a more temperate climate. If you want to double down on the midcentury vibes—anytime, anywhere—focus on your hardscaping.
This sleek, covered deck from Allison Babcock blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor living, Plus, the pared-back design makes the towering coniferous trees feel somewhat sleek.
Style in Sections
Why settle for one plant species when you can enjoy a few? We love how this project from Studio Schicketanz incorporates various bushes, shrubs, and trees. However, the sleek lines and clear sections speaks to the mid century spirit. It's almost like visual ASMR.
Keep It Natrual
As the midcentury mania has proven time and time again, there's strength in simplicity. In this contemporary project—courtesy of Studio Schicketanz and Ground Studio Landscape Architecture—the simple yard places the home's facade front and center. Of course, this backyard is far from boring. The whispy branches add some textural to the otherwise simple space.
Make Room for a Meticulously Manicured Lawn
Never underestimate the power of a perfectly manicured lawn. Bay Area-based designer Kendall Wilkinson takes the "less is more mentality" to a whole new level with pristinely cut grass. The simplicity of this landscaping pairs nicely with the sleek lines of the house and accompanying pergola.
Add Desert-Style Décor
Or, if moving the lawn isn't your thing, take a cue from this pared-back yard. The gravel is a great, low-maintenance substitute for finicky grass, while the square pavers will make it easy to get from point A to point B. Rounding out the look are desert-inspired plants and a hammock, encouraging guests to kick back and relax.
Place at the Perimeter
While we love lush landscaping as much as the next person, it's important that your back is practical, too. After all, what's the point of having outdoor space if you can't use it for socially distanced hangs and barbecues? We love how this space from Ann Living moves all of the foliage to the yard's perimeter, offering that frills-free that put midcentury modernism on the map.
Take Your Landscape to New Heights
Oftentimes, it might seem like your hardscaping and landscaping are at odds with each other. For one element to succeed, the other must take a backseat. But, as this setup from Dabito proves, that doesn't have to be the case. Instead, the designer let his pergola uplift his landscaping—literally. With green grass, potted plants, and hanging foliage, this backyard certainly has ground-to-sky appeal.