Backyard geometry

Create an inviting outdoor room with lush plantings, clean lines, and built-in seating

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A garden shaped like a wedge of pie can be awkward. "It started wide and sloped away to a point," landscape designer Judy Kameon says of Timm Fryman's backyard in the Hollywood Hills. The unkempt garden also lacked proper seating ― Fryman had to haul a chair off the porch if he wanted to linger outdoors.

Kameon started the transformation by adding a well-placed patio with a built-in bench along the edge of the property. A grid of concrete pavers marches directly toward the bench across the lawn of St. Augustine grass, creating a compelling pattern from indoors and drawing attention to the area. "The strong diagonal line improved the long, narrow shape of the garden while adding a jolt of drama," Kameon says.

The usual approach with hardscaping this contemporary is to plant equally sparingly. But Kameon layered textures and used a variety of leaf shapes instead. The clean graphic lines against a rich vegetative backdrop create a fantastic setting ― as if the garden has been carved out of the jungle.

Fryman was thrilled with the results. The new landscape is not just visually entertaining, it's also better designed for entertaining. "That bench is a great setup for dinner parties," he says. The garden earned Kameon an award for best small space in Sunset's recent Dream Gardens contest.

Design: Judy Kameon, Elysian Landscapes, Los Angeles (213/380-3185).

Resources: Hoop chairs ($400 each) and side tables ($420 each) from Plain Air (213/380-3185). Federal blue and French blue 22-inch oil jars by Bauer Pottery Company ($500 each; 888/213-0800).

 

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