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Mid-Century Modern architecture deserve better landscaping!

Updated: Apr 5

When we moved to Kalamazoo last year I was astounded by the cool mid-century modern architecture around town, especially in our neighborhood. Norman Carver-designed homes quickly became my favorite, even above the Frank Lloyd Wright houses. The thing that disappointed me about all of them though was the yards. I mean the point of this “prairie-style” design was that it was intended to blend into the landscape, not plop down and be incongruous with the surrounding nature as is typical with most home designs. So here you have a design ideology that fits into the contours of the landscape but then the homeowner (or landscape designer) alters the yard to be disconnected from the landscape! This makes no sense. My secret wish was to redesign these yards and put them back to the original plan with plants indigenous to the area. So seven yards into my Dropseed! business I got the chance to do just that. This yard, smothered in invasive English Ivy and Vinca vines, is the home of a Norm Carver-designed house just around the corner from us. The current homeowners hired me to get rid of this vine mess, save their 200 year old Red Oaks from being strangled to death by the climbing Ivy and design a woodland garden with native plants. So here we go! Yesterday I removed the vines and cut the climbers. Today I prepped the bed with cardboard and mulch to smother future growth. In the Spring I’ll plant the species on my design mock-up and it’ll look great, create habitat, prevent erosion and flooding and the yard (at least part of it) will return to the original understory (or close to it) of the Oak Savanna as it was for thousands of years before European settlement. #nativegarden#normancarver

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