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Landscaping for Your Home Style

By: Gretchen Roberts

Your home's architecture – formal and imposing, casually horizontal, whimsical or evoking a specific region – can help you design a complementary landscape. We talked to Mary Palmer Dargan, ASLA, author of Timeless Landscape Design and Susan Cohan, APLD, for landscape design tips for 10 home styles.

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Arts and Crafts

Characterized by built-in cabinets, exposed beams and cozy front porches, the Arts and Crafts style depends on handmade craftsmanship and naturalistic design. Choose simple plants with a natural form (i.e. waving fountain grass rather than clipped boxwoods), as well as real stone for pathways and garden borders. An old wooden bench tucked into a corner evokes the Craftsman feel.

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Cape Cod

A quintessentially American style, Cape Cod homes typically feature a large central fireplace and upstairs dormer windows. Cottage plants like roses and hydrangeas – the bigger, the better – are classic plantings around Cape Cod-style homes. Finish off the look with a white picket fence, a brick or bluestone walk, wooden planters painted to match the shutters or in a weathered gray, and a wooden bench. 

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Natural, sustainable materials, low-energy design and a connectedness between indoors and outdoors are hallmarks of this style. Contemporary homes can take either a modern, sculptural approach with clipped shrubs and geometric forms, or the opposite: a sustainable, low-water garden of natural plants like native meadow plants in the sunny spaces and moss in the shade. 

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Federal-style homes are formal and rectangular, with symmetrical windows and subtly grand ornamentation such as a brick exterior and tall, slim porch columns. Clipped, straight, formal lines are appropriate in the garden of this home. Evergreens are key for this look, with topiaries and pockets of flowers.

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