Growing squares

Raised planting boxes frame herbs and vegetables

Squares

Arranged in neat squares around a center fountain, raised beds contain dwarf marigolds, lavender, parsley, rosemary, red-flowered sage, scented geraniums, squash, strawberries, tomatoes, and more.

Steven Gunther

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To complement their Santa Monica home, George and Kristen Minardos wanted a kitchen garden with a fresh, contemporary look. Landscape architect Kathleen Ferguson's solution was to install a grid of nine concrete squares, each measuring 30 inches square by 14 inches tall, in the backyard. Eight of the custom-built squares are planters with drainage holes. The center square is a recirculating fountain.

The geometric precision of the design keeps even rangy herbs like scented geraniums and sprawling vegetables like squash neatly in their place. The squares make elegant frames for everything planted in them ― including tomatoes and cottage flowers such as marigolds. The squares have other benefits as well. Herbs love the good drainage the raised beds provide, and for George, the gardener in the family, the extra elevation means he doesn't have to stoop. "My back likes this arrangement," he says.

Design: Kathleen Ferguson Landscapes, Los Angeles (323/221-2248)

Info: Planters available from Studio Four, Los Angeles (323/449-9213)

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