Mid-Century Modern Courtyard

Posted on March 5, 2018

modern travertina pavers

Mid-Century Modern Courtyard Renovation in Lafayette Park, Detroit

Winner Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association Merit Award 2017

Winner Detroit Home Award 2018


As a fan of mid-century modern design, designer Lauren Yelen was excited to collaborate with clients who wanted to renovate the courtyard of their historic townhouse in Lafayette Park (an historic urban renewal district in Detroit designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a pioneer of modern architecture). The clients, active in the local art scene, desired an outdoor space that honored the architecture of the home and suited to hosting frequent events for movers and shakers of the art world.  


mid century modern courtyard before




mid century modern courtyard


We create a layout that was simple, sophisticated and complemented the home’s mid-century modern architecture. Materials were chosen to coordinate with brick of the courtyard walls as well as the interior decor. The clients were delighted when the Techo-bloc Travertina pavers unexpectedly reflected morning light onto a painting in their living room! Wall washes and accent lighting create a beautiful nightscape, as well. Polished Mexican pebble strips add contrast, and raised planters create focal elements.  An ornamental Kousa dogwood has beautiful spring flowers, but the yews and boxwood that border the courtyard were chosen for their 4-season interest and architectural structure.  The standout of the courtyard is a “bonsai” Hinoki False Cypress, a living sculpture for the landscape of an art connoisseur.

hinoki false cypress

The major challenge of this project was the difficult access. Staging of materials was offsite in a parking lot several condos away, and all equipment and materials had to fit through a narrow 40″ opening. Fortunately, project supervisor Scott Andrews has a penchant for meticulous planning and execution, allowing for a flawless translation of the design from paper to reality. The clients were thrilled by the transformation, and look forward to hosting many parties in their stylish mid-century modern courtyard!

mid century modern courtyard