Table of Contents

Ranch and Split-level 1950-1970

Fig.63, Ranch style home
Fig. 63
These suburban homes are in neighborhoods that feature curving streets, no sidewalks and homes built on cul-de-sacs. The one-story ranch style and the split-level one-and-a-half story home stress the horizontal. The interior is an open floor plan with sliding glass doors opening to a patio and the formal dining area becomes an extension of the kitchen. The lower level in the split-level has a finished basement with a walkout to the back yard. Bedrooms are often built over the two-car garage. Because there are no alleys, the garage is built to the front taking on an unattractive prominence. (The corner house in Fig. 63, nicely avoids this problem). There is a continuing focus on the back yard for living and entertaining. Architect designed variations of this style, on larger, already wooded lots frame the house in an asymmetric arrangement of curving drive, lawn, and trees.

Garden plan
Homes have large front lawns and a few, low maintenance evergreens around the foundation. The main emphasis is on the back yard, which often has a patio, grill and screened gazebo. Exceptions are made if the rear of the house has a northerly or otherwise unpleasant aspect. It is then recommended to fence the front or grow a tall hedge to create a private patio. At right is a (Cape Cod style) home with a
Fig.64, Cape Cod style home
Fig. 64
charming patio in front. Often, however, the immaculate front lawn occupies most of the yard – its’ maintenance made easier by the power mower and weed and feed chemicals. Gardeners are urged to use all the new available pesticides, fertilizers, growth hormones, pre-emergent herbicides as preventatives, and not wait for trouble.

Foundation plantings and other front yard shrubs include yews, arborvitae, and barberry, clipped into lozenge, lollypop and dome shapes. Space, form and texture are stressed rather than color, and a limited plant palette. To minimize maintenance the use of slow growing dwarf cultivars is recommended. Often a single tree (sugar maple is a favorite) or clump of birch set in circle of white rock mulch, or ground cover completes the front yard. If there is a change in grade some relief is allowed with minimal terracing, planted with low growing juniper.

Amenities in the garden
Plastics find many uses in the garden, in water repellent furniture (the webbed lawn chair), screening, and roofing over carports. Other modern garden enhancements include sprinkler systems, outdoor lighting and radiant heaters (especially welcome in our northern climate).