What does a mid century yard look like?


I am not a big fan of throwing away anything that is useful; I guess I was a “recycler” before it was cool.

My yard changed all that.

We moved here just before Christmas in 2010, with a foot of snow on the ground and still coming down on moving day. I really did not know what was growing under all that blanket of white, except a few evergreen trees, some weeping Japanese maples and some roses.

Then came spring. I was welcomed by lots of lovely white and coral tulips along the front sidewalk. The neighbors said that they had been planted by the original owners many years ago. Those had to stay.

As  spring came and went though,  I came to realize that this yard had been stuffed with every kind of flower, bush and bulb ever grown in our zone. You name it, it was growing here and in every color of the rainbow. There had obviously been no plan;  just plants plucked down in any available space.  Most of the perennials and bulbs were growing BEHIND the 5 foot rose bushes. And all of it was planted under the large overhangs (a big feature in mid century ranches) where they got no rain.

Hubby and I spent an entire weekend digging up a small pond in the backyard and then making 2 small walkways with the flagstones. Other weekends were spend editing the abundance. We transplanted a few things, but most went into the yard waste container for the trash man. I know,  how could I?

I had done some research on mid century plantings and landscapes. It was a much simpler look back then; none of this loose “I don’t care” cottage look.

So here is what I am keeping:

The old roses. A few are bushes, one is a rambler and the 2 others I cut back so far I’m not sure what they are.

The old white and coral tulips along the walkway.

A huge clump of wild orange day lilies.

The miniature Japanese maples. I am not sure if they are period, but they do look modern and simple.

The 8 Knock Out roses in the front yard. Even though they are newer, they are a beautiful coral pink and go well with the older roses.

Like many mid century ranches this one has a cool triangular planter built into the front porch. It is mostly shaded so it will have a variety of shade loving annuals or tropicals.

The white railing on the porch was here but is not original. It does not match the style of the house and will go. We want something that looks like a room divider or screen.

The outdoor furniture has a retro feel. The lipstick red set was from Big Lots and the white set was marked down 75% at Walmart at the end of the season. The pillows are garage sale finds.

I will not waste lots of money on annuals anymore.  What I will do are pots of red geraniums. I keep seeing them in old ads from the 50’s.  And I did bring back hollyhock seeds from France. Despite no rain and record heat all summer, they did bloom.


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