Borrow From the Bauhaus for a Modernist Landscape Design

Garden layout wasn’t taught at the powerful Bauhaus design school founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, but the popular Bauhaus notion of bringing art, art and technology into one total work, the Gesamtkunstwerk, afterwards found its way into houses and landscapes. We see expressions rooted in these Bauhaus notions in our houses — as integrated living systems between home and garden, combined with functional layout without decoration.

Elad Gonen

The Arts and Crafts movement influenced several features of the Bauhaus school, including the value of quality craftsmanship and materials, though its strong use of decoration was reversed. Early gardens created after the edicts of the Bauhaus movement were built by modernist architects, maybe not anglers; Walter Gropius designed only one garden, at England’s Dartington Hall, from the 1930s.

Modernist houses in the 1920s and 1930s were built based on geometric shapes having a watch to form following function. Gardens began mirroring the home layout as part of the general site layout, becoming more than simply a decorative element enclosing the home.

We can see that this implemented from the modern case revealed here.

Nixon Tulloch Fortey Architecture

Economy of layout. Bauhaus pupils were taught that beauty was to be found in economy of form and in how materials were utilized.

Here we see a layout which has economy of design, with materials linking the construction and garden — the timber siding on the home links with the garden decking, along with the concrete patio links with the board-formed concrete on the home.

Huettl Landscape Architecture

This doesn’t indicate that landscapes must avoid crops, using only hardscape and bud to replicate the geometric contours of their structure.

This planting has been carefully selected to enhance the general design without being too decorative. The planting layout is functional — equally economical in its use and functional in its low maintenance.

West Architecture Studio

Integration of house and garden. This home and garden are a terrific illustration of the Bauhaus concept of Gesamtkunstwerk — or “complete work.”

The garden is essential to the overall design of the building and cannot be separated from it. The formality of the planting inside the geometrically shaped raised beds averts any softening or portion of the general layout.

BAAN layout

This space is the ultimate integration of house and garden. Does it seamlessly connect the inside to the surface, but it embraces the use of new technology and materials to create a seamless connection — so loved from the followers of the Bauhaus movement.

Dean Herald-Rolling Stone Landscapes

Bauhaus layout ideas work well in the design of smaller outdoor spaces. Here we see that the ideals of rationality, functionality and using simplified forms brought together in a modernist courtyard garden.

Cultivart Landscape Design

Functional layout. Functional layout is a keystone of Bauhaus design used widely today in garden design. Instead of hardscaping and plant selection used purely for decorative purposes, characteristics inside the garden work for their keep in addition to being visually pleasing.

The attractiveness of the seating space is the careful selection of two materials — concrete and timber — which creates quite a simple layout, one which is not diluted by the strong planting.

Christopher Yates Landscape Architecture

Each bit of the garden has a single use, but they come together to create a complete design. The barbecue and dining set are functional and clean, not ornamental, fitting with the ease of the plot. The concrete wall has been carefully selected, making an almost industrial feel.

These features follow the preference of Bauhaus designers for products which could be industrially produced yet were aesthetically pleasing.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

In hardwood decking, the most fundamental of modern garden design features, we can see the effect of Bauhaus design fundamentals.

Both the decking and wire fencing here fulfill their function without using extraneous decoration; they’re simple and inexpensive, and yet the type follows the function.

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Permit Nature Inspire Your Own Landscape: Grasslands to Garden

If it comes to choosing a style for a backyard project, many people turn into cultural references: Japanese restraint, rigorously laid-out French parterres, abundantly flowering English boundaries and so forth. But what should we look not in cultures but in nature itself for stylistic inspiration?

Grasslands, obviously, are natural regions strongly dominated by grasses. In such expanses of fine foliage, other herbaceous crops, or forbs, and some rare shrubs and small trees could be dotted about. This sort of plant habitat can be found on all continents except Antarctica.

CYAN Horticulture

By analyzing naturally occurring plant combinations around the planet in addition to in the field across the street, we may find the humblest yet best plant combinations.

Here we’ve got a hillside in northern Mongolia covered in a matrix of fine grasses and magnificent globe thistles (Echinops sp, zones 3 to 9). This simple juxtaposition — airy champagne-colored blossoms and bright blue flowery chunks — is one which can readily be reproduced in garden settings, boulder discretionary.

CYAN Horticulture

When we think of grasslands, visions of this rolling vastness of the American Great Plains or the African savannah may come into mind. Yet we do not need endless acreage and a bunch of giraffes to set up a sign of a grassland in the yard.

Grasses are found in almost every possible niche, such as in this little clearing at a larch forest close to Siberia. Because of their delicate, often inflorescences that are plume-y, grasses shine when backlit.

CYAN Horticulture

To recreate a few of this magic of grasslands at home, we need a researched selection of … grasses. Retail nurseries assert a range of decorative selections that are appropriate and non invasive. Online sources abound as well.

Considering most true blossoms are partial to full sunshine and well-drained soil, we must make certain that our area of layout fits this taste — gloomy blossoms become drab and floppy. Grouping together several units of the same bud, hence creating dynamic drifts, is equally organic and design savvy. In this case masses of tall, easygoing miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis cvs, zones 4 to 9) dress large bed regions within this residential Vancouver development.

Robert Shuler Design

Several types of blossoms make excellent ground covers, from ankle reduced (believe fescue and sesleria) to shoulder top (switchgrass, miscanthus). Here we’ve got a smart choice of blossoms and a couple of companion plants that produce a tasteful, restful and most likely low-maintenance and drought-tolerant composition.

CYAN Horticulture

Restricted to one or a number of kinds of similar heights, favorite grasses may be equally applied to any sizable area. It’s just as a bountiful lawn replacement, or as a tasteful transition between manicured and crazy zones, this design approach shines brightest.

In the Chanticleer backyard in Pennsylvania, a large expanse of such grasses is sensibly bisected with a neatly manicured yard route, creating an exemplar minimalist landscape intervention.


Later in the season, another illustration of massed grasses shows terrific results. In the foreground lie switchgrass (Panicum sp) and fountain grass (Pennisetum sp).

CYAN Horticulture

Associating individual units of different varieties of grasses may at first sound counterintuitive, maybe plain risqué. To reassure ourselves, let us think of a painter juxtaposing various colors of the same color: The outcome is all about finesse and subtleties. An excellent example of this approach can be seen at the courtyard of the Petit Palais in Paris, displayed here, with Pampas grasses (Cortaderia sp, sets 6 to 9) controlling this gem of an all-grass composition.

CYAN Horticulture

A close-up of the unique Parisian display reveals the similar colors and textures of those nonetheless different blossoms.

CYAN Horticulture

Various flowering perennials make perfect natural companions to grasses. Dotted through the composition, they include contrast in foliage and color interest. Asters, coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea cvs, zones 3 to 9), daisies and liatris are some of the best contenders for this particular job.

CYAN Horticulture

The oh-so-trendy meadow planting fashion, championed in expansive urban schemes like New York’s High Line and London’s Olympic Park, relies upon comparable naturally occurring plant combinations. Here, the lawn of an abandoned building in Vancouver charmingly yells without anybody’s consent.

CYAN Horticulture

Simplicity is thus often crucial. It sometimes takes no more than a broken lawn mower (or protracted holidays for your gardener) for wild grasses and their flowery companions to reclaim their due. In Lotbinière, Quebec, a summer house goes all natural using a screen of oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare, sets 2 to 8) and wild blossoms.

More in this collection: Shape a Sea-Inspired Garden | Suggestions for a Woodland Garden
Devise a Desert Garden | Mighty Mountain Gardens

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8 Suggestions Out Of Celebrated Garden Designers

The Chelsea Flower Show is an Yearly celebration of everything garden held in the grounds of the Chelsea Royal Hospital in London. Aside from its showcase of new plant types and various furniture and ornamentation pieces to groom your backyard with, you will find expansive gardens that overflow with ideas for your very own little storyline. Surprisingly, the show lasts for only five days — that is difficult to believe when you see the degree of detail and sophistication in the show gardens created by designers from all around the world.

I made the trek throughout the pond this season and came back totally inspired and itching to execute some of these ideas in upcoming projects. The following is a collection of images from the 2012 show that highlight various techniques that could work in your own garden.

Matt Kilburn

Contrasting background colours. Contrast is king in backyard spaces. Many times, comparison can be created by various hardscape and softscape elements, but care should be paid to colour tones also. Inside this backyard by Andy Sturgeon, a wealthy, dark gray wall provides the perfect backdrop to highlight the contrasting colours and types of the foliage in front.

Matt Kilburn

Incorporating industrial materials. Cor-Ten steel is now a remarkably common material in the backyard. Its colour tone contrasts beautifully with the surrounding foliage in this backyard space made by John Warland and Sim Flemons. The stuff’s weathered feel makes for interesting shadows throw from trees.

Matt Kilburn

Form meets function. Constructed attributes can function as a fantastic focal point in a garden whilst at the same time adding function to a distance. Inside this backyard by Jason Hodges, plush outdoor furniture integrates into the landscape that a cantilevered dining area table protruding out of a retaining wall.

Matt Kilburn

Outdoor relaxation. Who wouldn’t want to curl up with a novel in this concealed hammock space? Have a cue from this distance by Jo Thompson — hammocks are a great way for lounging when space is constrained.

Matt Kilburn

Low-maintenance lawn substitutes. Meadow gardens were a big fad at this year’s show, popping up in both conventional and more abstract software. Meadow gardens are a great low-maintenance alternative to yards, since they need much less water and upkeep. Paths could be cut through the meadow for access, and the flowers simply reseed themselves.

Matt Kilburn

Classical thoughts in modern settings. Pleached hedges, a classical form of living architecture resembling hedges on stilts, are making a comeback in modern garden design. This backyard by Arne Maynard efficiently utilizes pleached hedges to make enclosure farther down the path whilst enabling garden beds to flow seamlessly through the backyard.

Matt Kilburn

Controlling movement throughout the backyard. How you move throughout the backyard is an important consideration. Breaking up a path with stepping stone, like in this backyard by Chris Gutteridge, is a fantastic way to encourage visitors to slow down and revel in the environment.

Matt Kilburn

Smart spatial solutions. Inside this backyard, Jason Hodges found a fantastic solution for a challenging angle transition from the stairs into the paving stone. The brink planting of black mondo grass adds an intriguing contrasting feel to the room and complements the colour tones of the spiky phormiums in the backdrop.

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