Free plan: A garden of outdoor rooms

A designer shares her secrets for creating a cool backyard getaway

Plant green walls
Marion Brenner

Plant green walls

To maintain a feeling of openness in the compact space, Wagner chose understated furniture. At a garage sale, she found a delicate-looking metal dining set that wouldn't impede garden views, then topped the table with glass. "You can look through the tabletop and furniture and see the garden beyond," Wagner says.

The dining area's simple candle chandelier (Wagner found hers at Ikea) is more functional than pillar candles.

Pittosporum tenuifolium  ‘Silver Sheen’ hedges define the outdoor dining/work space. Wisteria vines cover the arbor. 

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