Dull DeckSoon to be married, Nicole Tran and Peter Chang are happy with their Huntington Beach love nest but the back patio is a real heartbreaker. It's a mixture of mud and tired decking that doesn't fit with their designer dreams. With a combination of clever lighting, scented plants and towering trees, host Matt James completely transforms the space.
This Huntington Beach condo is the first home for Peter and Nicole, and while they love its graceful interior, its yard is rather ugly and is spoiling the view from the nearby greenway. They ask Matt to create a garden full of fragrant flowers and shapely shrubs where they can entertain their large families.
Designer PatioThe new space offers a place to sit and entertain in the shade. The garden feels much bigger by borrowing the scenery of the nearby greenway. The patio planting replicates similar colors, shapes and forms from the greenway so that both the garden and the outside space harmonize as one.
Although the new blue stone paving looks gorgeous, the downside is the cost in comparison to an imitation concrete paver. However in a small garden such as this, a little will go a long way and is worth the investment. Here it is laid in a random pattern because the slats on the fence, the decking and the shutters on the house are in straight lines. This randomness helps to offset the linear pattern.
Where's the Plants?Before: The homeowners want a garden in which they can work and relax. Nicole wants fragrant flowers and herbs, while Peter desires plants with interesting forms and shapes.
Topiaries and FragrancePrivet topiaries in terra-cotta pots add a formal effect while softening the edges of the new flagstone patio. They also offer the interesting shapes Peter wanted. Topiary like this need a trim every couple of months.
Matt has also added plantings of fragrant herbs for Nicole. He divides scented plants into three categories. There are free scents, such as jasmine and gardenia, that are powerful enough to permeate through the whole space. Up-close-and-personals, such as mint and rosemary, transfer scents as you wander past, and touchy-feely plants, including ginger, are ones you need to get your hands on for the full effect.
Clean LinesThe new redwood deck complete with a table, chairs and a shade umbrella provides the perfect base for a large entertaining area. The planks are oriented this way so that when you're in the house they grab the eye and lead it up and out into the surroundings. The bonus of using redwood is that it has a high acid content, making it naturally resistant to termites, and because it's from the heart of the tree, it should last for years.