6 modern garden art designs What happens when hard (pavement) meets soft (plantings) in your yard? Modern art you can walk on Tidepool Echeveria rosettes and blue Senecio mandraliscae grow between concrete pavers in a Malibu beach house path, adding tidepool-like splashes of sea greens and ocean blues. Design: Heather Lenkin, Pasadena (lenkindesign.com) Pinterest Stripes Baby’s tears growing between cast pavers create the bold look of a mod rug in this San Francisco courtyard, which maintains a serene air even as the light changes from spectacular to subdued. During the day, mirrors behind the sandblasted glass walls animate reflections that fall across the glass surface. At night, neon bulbs in a recessed track light up the wall and mirrors from below. Design: Topher Delaney, San Francisco (tdelaney.com) Grid ‘Elfin’ thyme turns this patio into a giant checkerboard. Growing in 4-inch-wide strips dividing poured-in-place concrete squares, it’s irrigated by a subsurface drip system and needs only the occasional light pruning. Sea thrift keeps the grid from looking too controlled. (That blue “gravel” in the firepit is recycled glass.) Design: Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture, Los Osos, CA (www.jgsdesigns.com) Spiral ‘TifSport’ Bermuda grass weaves a double helix through this flagstone walkway at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, California. To create the carpetlike effect, the designer framed the rectangular space with wood, then laid 4-inch-wide blue-board foam as a placeholder for the pattern. After installing the paving, she removed the foam, filled the resulting 4-inch-wide channels with soil, then planted the sod. The grass gets mowed, as needed, with a weed eater—“very carefully!” says caretaker Brian Ramsey. Waves Icy blue dymondia flows like a stream between flagstone pavers in a garden near Morro Bay, California. Surrounded by grasses and coastal natives, this path echoes the curves of the nearby estuary. Design: Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture, Los Osos, CA (www.jgsdesigns.com) Slots These planting slots, like lines drawn in the sand, mark the boundary between a driveway and an entry walk in front of a Phoenix house. Lines etch the paving as well; to create them, the designers pressed pieces of rebar and all-thread rods into the poured-in-place concrete before it hardened. Sunny-hued angelita daisies, chosen because they can take the considerable reflected heat, fill the slots. Design: Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture, Phoenix (colwellshelor.com) Pick your look The ideal groundcovers to grow between pavers form low, tight mounds. Choose your paver type first, then select the plant that looks best beside it––and likes your garden’s conditions. Moving clockwise, from top left corner of photo: Blue Star Creeper (Pratia pedunculata). Tiny flowers dot it in spring. Filtered shade; Sunset climate zones 4–9, 14–24. Flagstone (Rose). As warm-toned as Colorado’s red rocks. Sedum rupestre ‘Blue Spruce.’ Needlelike foliage resembles blue spruce, except it’s soft and succulent. Sun or part shade; Sunset climate zones 2–24. Baby’s tears (Soleirolia soleirolii). Cool-looking groundcover with tender leaves you won’t want to step on. Part shade, or sun in cool climates; zones 4–24; H1–H2. Carpet bugle (Ajuga reptans ‘Dixie Chip’). Leaves of green, cream, and rose-purple are topped with violet-blue flower spikes in spring. sun or part shade; zones A2–A3, 1–24. Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina.’ A chameleon; yellow-green foliage often turns orange at the tips in fall. Sun to part shade; zones 2–24. Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood.’ Reddish brown leaves make a smoldering backdrop for pink and gray echeverias. Sun or part shade; zones 1–10, 14–24. Slate. Dramatic, especially in a black, charcoal, or deep jade green shade. Dymondia margaretae. Spidery leaves have white undersides. Striking with sandstone; takes light foot traffic. Sun or part shade; zones 15–24. More materials Here are even more great ideas for you to choose from to craft your artful look. Moving clockwise, from top left corner of photo: Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood.’ Reddish brown leaves make a smoldering backdrop for pink and gray echeverias. Sun or part shade; zones 1–10, 14–24. Slate. Dramatic, especially in a black, charcoal, or deep jade green shade. Carpet bugle (Ajuga reptans ‘Dixie Chip’). Leaves of green, cream, and rose-purple are topped with violet-blue flower spikes in spring. sun or part shade; zones A2–A3, 1–24. Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina.’ A chameleon; yellow-green foliage often turns orange at the tips in fall. Sun to part shade; zones 2–24. Black Mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’). Leaves emerge green, then turn black. Sun, part shade inland; zones 5–9, 14–24. Flagstone (Buff). Icy overtones. Woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus). Undulating mat of woolly gray leaves is sometimes covered in midsummer with pinkish flowers. Sun, or part shade in hottest climates; zones A2–A3, 1–24. Flagstone (Peach). Bright, like desert sand. Great pairings: Flagstone (rose) and Blue Star Creeper; slate and Black mondo grass; Dymondia margaretae and flagstone (buff); flagstone (peach) and 'Blue Spruce' sedum.