A lavishly illustrated exploration of the prevalent architecture and landscaping style of the mid-century period (c.1940-1970) and its links with modern-day living, this sumptuous garden design book features examples of contemporary interpretations of the style as well as expert advice and tips on how you can achieve the style for yourself.
In the second half of the twentieth century, outdoor living was born. Even modest homes were open plan with large picture windows that brought the outside in - and a deck or platform was the perfect answer to extending living outdoors. These lived-in spaces were easy to maintain with their limited plant palette and focus on structure and hard landscaping. They offered a space in which to relax and enjoy valuable leisure time, a pursuit that is as relevant now as it was then. Contrast was the design dynamic - a response to the energy that was fuelled by people's hope for a bright future after the Second World War. Outdoors this translated into a lively interplay of textures and colours between hardscaping materials, pieces of outdoor art and striking specimen plants.
The first part of this seminal book charts the evolution of the MCM aesthetic starting with Frank Lloyd Wright's 'Usonion' houses and finishing with Cliff May's ranch houses looking at spaces outside and within and design influences from Europe. The second part focuses on classic and contemporary interpretations of the style in exceptional gardens from all over the world. It offers a unique insight into this period of seismic shift in garden design and will be a rich source of inspiration for garden makers today.
Ethne Clarke teaches at the University of Colorado and Colorado College on garden history and the ethnography of landscape. In 2013 Ethne published her book on the inter-war architect Cecil Pinsent with W. W Norton titled An Infinity of Graces. As well as her academic profile she is a hands-on gardener and garden designer and until recently was editor of Rodale's Organic Gardener magazine. She is currently refurbing her own mid-century modern house and garden in Colorado Springs.