100 Abandoned Houses

I am finding inspiration is in an odd and rather depressing place. 100 Abandoned Houses is a beautiful but haunting photography project by Kevin Bauman. His website is a collection of images he has captured over the last 10 year of his own home town of Detroit.
100 abandoned houses kevin bauman
100 abandoned houses kevin bauman
The photography is beautiful and the collection of photos is certainly a compelling collection that, as a design interested person, I can’t help be be drawn in by. The neighborhoods look remarkably similar to Washington Park, Alamo Placita Park and Cherry Creek in Denver where I used to live. I loved these neighborhoods for their mix of cottages, large homes and interesting architecture and people that created a unique flavor that you just don’t find in newer cookie cutter neighborhoods.  Seeing something familiar in such a state of decline brings the reality of our declining economy and the impact that it has on individual families a bit closer to home.
100 abandoned houses kevin bauman
100 abandoned houses kevin bauman

I am noticing in these pictures the remarkable lack of love and sense of personal space.  Obviously the house are falling down, but I am talking about the landscape too.  There are no fences left, the plants that would make a garden are either dead from neglect or have taken over the house entirely. I am somewhat shocked by the lack of vibrancy that these home have. Green and all the shades of the garden lacking makes for a rather stark image.

100abandonedhouses 100 abandoned houses kevin bauman detroit gardens homes
100abandoned houses kevin bauman

I think it would be interesting to walk these neighborhoods and study what is alive and thriving, are they native plants or something else?  What did people plant in better times that still exists and what can we learn from that to make better spaces now.

You know what else is striking to me – open, naturalized landscapes being a bit of a design trend – are just not that welcoming and enticing.   I am noticing the remarkable similarities to what many designers are creating on purpose.  It reminds me that this is not what people yearn for in a personal gardens and landscapes and that people (or at least I) find comfort in spaces that are at least a little bit organized, have a sense of structure, and create pocket of retreat.  Do you agree?

What strikes you about these pictures?

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. [email protected] on July 8, 2009 at 10:52 am

    I’ve seen these photos a couple of times and they are fascinating. They are sort of impossible to look away from. They make you wonder where did these families go? Who owns a beautiful brick Victorian and then just moves out? Could they not afford the mortgage? Did they move to a better neighborhood? What strikes me the most is the complete sense of lost opportunity that they invoke. Almost all of them were nice houses at one point in time, built in an era when quality building materials were the norm. If caught in time most could have been salvaged or renovated. Instead I think Detroit is tearing down abandoned structures in large quantities. It seems so wasteful, yet Detroit has so many problems that its easy to see how saving abandoned structures isn’t their top priority.

  2. s.b.singh on September 23, 2009 at 12:36 am

    hey man fentastic job its realy gr8 nice pics.. realy apriciatable….


  3. Jennifer de Graaf on December 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I want to adopt them all.

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