Tepee time in the yard

A fantasy garden comes to life in Santa Monica
Sharon Cohoon

Backyard camping isn't only for kids. Bridget Walsh and Louis Plachowski, owners of the garden pictured at left, enjoy cozying up to their firepit and napping in their tepee every bit as much as the neighborhood children do. "We're out there every day," Plachowski says. "It's like going to the mountains without leaving home." That was the plan, says the garden's designer, Chuck Stopherd.

Though the couple approached him only with the thought of making the space attractive, Stopherd wanted to give them something they'd actually use. When he tapped into the idea of creating a setting that would remind Plachowski and Walsh of their favorite recreational activities ― hiking and camping ― Stopherd knew he'd found the key to their fantasy garden.

Now their backyard has all the elements they love about the outdoors ― a stream; a pine grove (22 Pinus eldarica trees are clustered around the tent); manzanita to remind them of foothill vegetation; a campfire; and finally, that dream of a tent, a genuine Sioux-style tepee.


 Design: Chuck Stopherd, Hidden Garden, Redondo Beach (310/968-1040)
Source: Nomadics Tipi Makers (541/389-3980)