BEFORE. It was a nondescript rear yard without a place to sit or entertain.
AFTER. A tiled patio, new textures for the rear wall of the garage, and a grape arbor shape a welcoming outdoor room for dining and relaxing.
The patio extends across the width of the house and is level with it, linking indoors and outdoors. Its defining feature is a vine-clad lattice of 2-by-2s that turns the garage wall into a soft green frame for an attractive bronze wall fountain. Shrubs and the grape arbor, supported on stone columns, give the outdoor room further definition. The arbor frames views of a 10- by 50-foot lap pool and a trellis of similar design on a lower level near the rear fence.
Part cooking center, part dining room, part outdoor lounge, the patio makes an ideal site for entertaining on balmy summer evenings. Owners Lisa Forrest and Mike Duckham can prepare meals in a stucco-covered pizza oven or on a gas-fired barbecue built into a counter. Low-voltage light fixtures, which wash the patio, steps, and garden path with subdued light, combine with candles in an outdoor chandelier to create an intimate atmosphere.
The remodeled rear yard also includes a greenhouse and new raised beds, formed by stucco-covered cement blocks, beside the lap pool.
DESIGN: Michael Glassman and Associates, Sacramento (916/444-1275)