How to create a clutter-free garden
An Arizona landscaper shows how to banish clutter from your life (or at least your backyard)
Why it works: With its front gates closed (frosted-glass panes let in light), the courtyard becomes a private outdoor room. A canopy of date palms shades a small collection of subtropical plants and helps cool the space in summer.
Adapt the idea: Don’t have a whole courtyard to play with? Block off a corner near your entry with a trellis, train a vine to clamber over it, then tuck a bench behind.
Why it works: Even before his guests get to the house, wide steps (made of concrete aggregate) encourage them to slow down and enjoy the garden.
Adapt the idea: If your yard doesn’t have enough sun for thyme, tuck Corsican mint or Japanese sweet flag between your steps or pavers; both have scented foliage. Stagger your pavers to slow the “journey.”
Stone mulches cover the bare soil, emphasizing the clean, graphic look.
Why it works: Well-spaced plants, arranged by kind, are more calming than a chaotic jumble of different types. You can appreciate each one’s form more easily.
Why it works: Meaningful treasures remind you to slow down and live in the moment.
Get the feeling: Tuck a favorite find or two from your travels or flea-market forays beside rocks or among shrubs.
Why it works: A single plant with a bold, sculptural shape is easier on the eye than a mixed planting. And a white pot allows it to shine.
Adapt the idea: You don’t have to buy large, expensive specimens like Kissinger did―try smaller agaves or ferns instead.
The chairs and tables, from the 1966 Collection by Richard Schultz, are also white.
Why it works: Neutral colors are restful to look at, and here, they frame views rather than compete with them.
Adapt the idea: Try pewter-colored furniture with blue-gray cushions on bluestone pavers, or teak with sandy peach fabric on Arizona flagstone.
His oasis features date and Bismarck palms in the background.
Why it works: A place that indulges your senses and feels like an escape can be as relaxing as a spa visit or an island vacation.
Get the feeling: Find a scenic spot away from the house. Set up a Bali-style teahouse (eastwestteahouse.net), or just sling a hammock.