Authentic Mid-Century Landscaping with GRACE

I've been piecing together how I want the front of our house to look. I searched through authentic mid-century exterior paint colors, and finally picked a gray and blue. I ordered our Westhaven Crestview Door and it's waiting with some other materials that I hope to get installed soon. I've picked out a mid-century mailbox, a mid-century door knob and I'm deciding on our mid-century address numbers.

The last piece of the puzzle before I start putting everything into action is figuring out what the planters and plants will look like. So I went in search of some authentic mid-century landscaping. There are limited, but great, resources: Mainly, Eichler for Sale's post on Eichler-style landscaping and Mid2Mod's post on landscaping for mid-century homes.

With those mid-century landscaping resources in hand, I want adapt things so that they'll work for my mid-century house in Austin. And that means a few things:
  1. No water hogs - I'm in Austin and you need to be conscious about your plant selections or you're going to run up your water bill trying to keep plants alive that will probably die on the first hot summer day.
  2. Not much maintenance - I'm just not a yard guy (especially on those 100 degree days).
  3. Look good with my ranch house - Colors, height and style of plants will all matter when I'm making my choices.
So I came up with a little acronym that will help me remember the tenants of mid-century landscaping while I'm walking through the nursery: GRACE

Geometry - Plants should work with the geometry of the house. Hardscapes should be clean, straight and geometrical.
Repeat - Repetition of both plants and hardscapes.
Adaptive - Native, adaptive and water-wise plants that will stay evergreen throughout the year.
Carry - Be sure to carry hardscapes, plants and designs from the front yard into the back yard.
Everything - Have a mixture of materials, textures and colors.

Maybe it will help you remember to key pieces of authentic mid-century landscaping as well.


  1. Really helpful acronym. That ought to help all of us remember when we're standing in the nursery overwhelmed by too many choices. As for me, I've given up this summer. Thank goodness my shrubs and border plants are well-established, because I'm doing NOTHING except running my sprinkler system enough to keep things alive. Nobody's yard looks good this summer, thanks to all the 100+ days we're having.

    Oh, and speaking of thanks...I appreciate the mention.

  2. Just found your blog recently, excited to find another person in Austin who is working on renovating their house - ours is a little more brady bunch as opposed to mid century but mid century is definitely part of our inspiration as well!

  3. @Dana: I think everyone in Texas has given up this year, as they should. My one hope is to keep the few grass seedlings that haven't died in my yard alive.

    @Heather: Love the blog! It's great seeing other Austin renovations. It's been added to my feed reader. (And thanks for reading.)