Amazing home transformations

Get ideas for your own home or garden makeover

Backyard makeover: Space to unwind

From lawn to private retreat, a new outdoor living room makes a small home feel twice as big

Space to unwind firepit
Thomas J. Story

Space to unwind

A work-at-home couple transforms a small California backyard into a cozy retreat for decompressing

By Sharon Cohoon


"When your home and office are the same place, it's harder to stop working," says Ian Kimbrey, who works in an office above his garage, as does his wife, Joanne Forchas-Kimbrey. "You need a separate area for recreation that tells the brain it's time to switch gears." So the couple (he's a photo editor, she works for a design firm) asked landscape designer Jay Griffith to help them turn a small lawn between their house and the garage into a transitional area, a "decompression chamber" where they can relax after work.

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