The Low-Maintenance Garden

Garden designer Matt James helps a busy California executive transform her backyard eyesore into a personal refuge.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe earth tones in the hardscaping and new stucco walls create the perfect contrast to the new vegetation.
The earth tones in the hardscaping reflect the naturalistic, waterwise plantings. The old back wall has received a facelift with a new stucco facade and makes a nice neutral backdrop for the plants. Terra-cotta urns add vertical height and interest to the patio. An inviting built-in seat provides a place for Patti to sit and read a book. Sandstone pavers take the place of the old concrete-gravel hardscape. To break up the monotony of the hardscape, a square-shaped opening has been cut out of the patio and planted with Dymondia, a durable, low-growing groundcover with yellow flowers that withstands foot traffic.