The Modernists of the past century were optimists. They believed that better gardens meant better living. They helped invent the idea of the friendly garden: a place to live in instead of to work.
In the post-war boom that spawned suburbia, even a postage-stamp lot had a backyard for lounging in as well as a front garden, and modernist landscape architects made the most of both. Patios, pools, and backyard grills all got a boost from simple, budget-friendly principles of mid-century garden design.
By simplifying and streamlining landscapes, modernist landscape designers lured homeowners to explore the possibilities of their outdoor spaces and, by extension, to appreciate nature. Decades later, contemporary gardens are still influenced in big and small ways by the modernist goal to annex the outdoors as living space.
Here are 10 garden ideas to steal from the modernists for your own landscape: