Low-growing Pieris japonica softens the transition between the deck and hot tub.
Rob D. Brodman
Then at one end of the backyard, she designed a cozy relaxation area with a hot tub and a vine-covered pergola; at the other end, she added a C-shaped bench with an arbor.
To make the yard appear larger, she set the bench and pergola at angles to the house. A recirculating fountain in a rock-filled channel marks the transition between the two areas.
To further enhance the illusion of space, Drees layered the plantings – short ones in front, taller ones behind. Evergreen foliage plants (including Carex oshimensis 'Evergold', dwarf mondo grass, loropetalum, nandina, pieris, and pittosporum 'Cream de Mint') keep the garden looking good year-round. 'Sango Kaku' and 'Bloodgood' Japanese maples add seasonal color, as do flowers from variegated bower vine ( Pandorea jasminoides 'Variegata'), though the vine's foliage is a highlight in every season.
Design: Cathy Drees, Accent Gardens, Los Gatos (408/356-2435)