Miami-Spiced Tropical Landscape

This backyard purgatory becomes a tropical paradise.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionSee how our designers rise to the challenge of turning this blah backyard into a tropical paradise.

All About

Gisele and Carlos fit in perfectly with the multicultural melting pot of the Miami area: Between the two of them, the couple can claim Brazil, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and Honduras as part of their heritage. But their backyard has none of the spice and interest of their backgrounds; instead, it wavers between plain and "plain awful." Rising to the challenge of creating a South Florida oasis on a $20,000 budget are Ted Baker, Tom Laubenthal and the team of Matthew Doyle and Rafael Batalla.

Instead of a patio, Gisele and Carlos had a tiny spread of outdated tiles topped with a puny kettle grill. Without shade or space for seating – or even a walkway from the house – they couldn't wait to escape from this awkward patio island.