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In the News: The Midcentury Anti-Garden

LA Times' More Stark Than the Desert Around Them takes an alarming note of the growing trend of "extending the spareness of home interiors into the garden, and wiping out natural habitat in the process," by midcentury modern homeowners in Palm Springs. These midcentury mod enthusiasts have begun to replace the natural and/or traditional landscapes surrounding their homes with minimalist "gardens" made simply of gravel, lawn, or geometrically-shaped arrangements of cacti and grass, or shaved palm trees. This new terrain is quite the departure from those surrounding well-known designs by 1950s architects like Albert Frey and William Krisel.

On one hand, it's nice to see homeowners realizing the relationship between the architecture of their home and their landscaping, and putting extra thought into it rather than accepting what already exists or what's "the norm" for homes of different architectural styles. But it's also sad to hear that "fig and lemon trees planted there 40 years before by the original owner" are being ripped out. I'm all for designing appropriately for architecture and climate, but this type of starkness will lead to erosion and desertification; a little tasteful xeriscaping, much more appropriate and eco-friendly for the Palm Springs climate, seems to be the perfect compromise. To see more images, check out the gallery.

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