Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sunset Books

I have been collecting these Sunset landscaping books for a while now, as I've been dreaming about making the backyard fabulous. Maybe we could have a Japanese inspired garden, or we could build a barbecue pit and a shuffleboard court. And then there's that modern tile mosaic wall decoration that I've been meaning to make.There are a lot of inspiring ideas in these books. So many, in fact, that its hard to narrow it all down. 

The two books in the photo above were published in the early '60s. They're a perfect guide for mid-century modern landscaping. Most of the houses in the photos are modern ranch style homes. The three books below were published in the early '70s. Even though they're past the mid-century modern era, they are still useful. A lot of the images were reused from the earlier books. Even the newer photos (which judging by the clothing styles, were obviously taken in the '70s) still apply to mid-century modern design. Landscaping and patio design must not change as quickly as interior and architecture styles change. 
There's nothing wrong with our yard as it is now. There are some azaleas and other plants and a patio with a cool '50s shape. For furniture there are some vintage motel chairs and a metal glider. We still don't have an outdoor dining set.

I've been casually looking for a vintage dining set for the patio, but I haven't found anything that I can't live without. It could be a wooden picnic table. I saw one that had hairpin legs, which really modernized the classic picnic bench. That would be easy enough to make ourselves. 

I also need to find a patio umbrella, ideally a metal one from Sundrella. Although, I don't think that type of umbrella would look right with a picnic table. Other ideas for a dining set are a very simple, if not modern, wrought iron set, or a plain wooden table with director's chairs. A vintage patio umbrella in bright colors would also be nice.

We've put off the backyard project for next year, so there's still plenty to look through these books and come up with a plan for the backyard. Does anyone else out there collect these old Sunset books?


Missouri Michael said...

I don't collect them, but I did buy one of the Sunset books from the early 1950s for reference this past winter. It's more of a reference on plants instead of landscaping photos though.

1950's_atomic_ranch_house said...

I've been thinking about what to do with my front and back yards. I have some original cement round stepping stones that Mom got back in the day.

I'd love to have a rock garden in my side yard in the back yard, then maybe a regular lawn and a few trees, but I'll have to check out some mid-century books like you have for ideas.

I don't collect these yet, but I will! I bet they have great ideas!

Mary-Frances said...

I have this one:
Believe it or not, landscaping our house was what started me pursuing info about mid-century - there are so few good references. If you have some choice favorites out of the books, will you post them?
I especially love things that don't look like they're in California (it seems like when I started looking that was all you could find).

Wedgwood Tulsa said...

I'll find out if the contents of the book are copyright protected. If not, I'll post some of my favorite images from the book.


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