The Incorporation of Modernism into Landscaping Architecture

Posted January 29, 2020 by Treeium Inc.

By Frances Black

You don’t have to own a modern house to enjoy the pleasures and advantages of Modernist landscape architecture. The Modernist style got its start in the early 20th century. The technique turns its back on the labor-intensive needs of the traditional (Victorian) landscape. Instead, it highlights open space, sculptural forms, low maintenance, and a strong connection between house and garden. It's tailor-made for contemporary homeowners who want to spend less time working outdoors and more time living there.

One hallmark of modernist design is the ample use of hardscapes to enhance a property. Paving stones are a mainstay of the modernist approach design for good reason. The clean look is modern by definition, and you can choose from unlimited design options. Beautiful swaths of patterned pavers can provide visual interest to a variety of spaces, creating driveways, patios, walkways, and pool decks. All this beauty comes with bonuses: pavers are both low-maintenance and eco-friendly.


A hum-drum driveway turns into a luxurious welcome when you exchange the asphalt or poured concrete with a textured, pattern design. During construction, a paver driveway will be set into a solid base of layered gravel and sand designed to prevent rutting and help run-off. So paver construction doesn’t sacrifice beauty for utility and easy maintenance. Quite the contrary. Pavers provide greater traction when wet than poured concrete. They also can take more pressure per square inch, can be repaired in sections, and last between 25 and 50 years.

Patios, Barbecue Areas, and Firepits

A paver patio combines the visual warmth and texture of natural stone with durability. It's also easy to install and low maintenance. Built-in custom barbecues, firepits, and dining areas are just the beginning. You can also use interlocking paving stones to create sitting walls and built-in benches. Both are among the most attractive features of the modernist style. A modernist patio is designed to encourage people to interact with nature. Your patio hardscape can include benches around fountains, ponds, or planting beds for trees, perennials or vegetables.

The planting beds of the modernist garden are characterized by carefree plants that do exceptionally well here in California. These include sculptural plants such as yucca, sedum, canna, and elephant ears. The beds can also include plants that work well when massed, such as grasses and hosta.

Walkways and pool surrounds

Because wet pavers provide more traction than concrete, pavers are the best choice for pool decks and walkways. Anywhere safety is a top priority., they can be treated to further enhance their slip-resistance. As with driveways, the hues and shapes of pavers open up a world of beautiful design options for both pools and walks.

Modernist landscaping, like paver construction, values low maintenance. But it doesn't sacrifice pleasure and beauty. Thomas Church, one of the pre-eminent mid-20th century practitioners of the form, said it best. The modernist landscape style seeks to create gardens for people. Pavers can help make these gardens possible.

Frances Black is a writer and historian. She enjoys giving a modern twist to older designs. She takes pride in being able to get along without a smartphone.

Posted January 29, 2020
by Treeium Inc..


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