Backyard design guide

Glam up your backyard with inspiration from these amazing landscaping and design ideas

7 ways to design a garden of tranquility

Japanese design principles and a beachy L.A. vibe unite in a serene backyard sanctuary

Embrace emptiness
Photo by Bret Gum; written by Sharon Cohoon

Embrace emptiness

A garden should help you relax and reboot. That’s its proper purpose, according to the Japanese aesthetic called shibui. “We all need a peaceful place away from the craziness, and there’s no better spot for that than in nature,” says Venice designer André Price Jackson (, who embraces this philosophy—with a very West Coast spin—in his own garden. The plantings are spare, paving is natural. His art is easy and inventive. But you don’t need to create a garden that looks Japanese to achieve shibui’s effect. Just make its underlying design ideas your own.

Japanese gardens feel serene because they’re not crowded. Bare spaces are as important as filled-in spaces. That’s why André left the center of his garden open and planted surrounding beds with ground-hugging plants like prostrate juniper, dymondia, and blue senecio.


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