Drought-Tolerant Backyard

A large concrete backyard becomes a waterwise California retreat.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe homeowners remodeled their home, but ran out of inspiration when it came to the concrete and dirt space that is the backyard.
Michael and Christy French moved into their Californian ranch-style home a couple of years ago and promptly remodeled the house. They ran out of inspiration when it came to the garden, however, and the space is tired and rundown. Host Matt James creates a drought-tolerant garden featuring paving, decking and native Californian plants.

An overwhelming expanse of concrete combined with the lack of grass plagues this tired backyard. The homeowners want to take advantage of the yard's large space to host dinner parties of up to 20 people. They also want a low-maintenance retreat where they can unwind at the end of the workday and enjoy the cool Los Angeles weather. With the exception of a healthy lemon tree, Matt has a blank canvas to work with to create his masterpiece in this backyard. The new garden will be the perfect blend of a retreat with entertaining space.

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